It may come as a surprise that on the first Sunday of Advent we are suddenly immersed in Luke’s version of the long speech of Jesus concerning the future and the end of time. We just need to remember that in Advent we look forward both to the first coming of the Son of God in Bethlehem, and to his glorious return. Our gospel passage speaks of the Son of Man coming ’with power and great glory’ In the Creed we say ‘He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.’ What should our attitude to this coming be? Our gospel reading tells us.
There may be great horrors to witness and endure. We have seen plenty of these in recent years. Jesus tells us not to fear the violence of men, or the devastation nature can bring. Jesus tells us to ‘stand erect and hold our heads high’. Jesus speaks of our coming ‘liberation’. Since Jesus has conquered sin and death and demonstrated that the love of God is stronger than both of these, we have no need to fear.
There is also some timely advice for our daily lives that our hearts should not be ‘coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life’. Our faith in Jesus means that our very life-style will change and will challenge the values and behaviour of our contemporary society.
Finally, we are told to ‘stay awake, praying at all times’. We do not know the day or the hour in which the Lord will call us. But as Christians, though we may still fear the process of death, we know that death is the gateway to eternal life.
Does my faith really inspire the whole of my life?
What is my attitude to the future and the end of my life on earth?
Let us pray for all those who are fearful today for whatever reason.
Let us pray with the early Christians ‘Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!’.
Fr. Adrian Graffy