“Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near…”
Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, 35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Just as in the Gospel 2 weeks ago, Jesus speaks again of His Second Coming. He speaks in poetic language but also gives us practical signs to look out for. He tells us this is a real event that everyone on earth at the time will experience. He warns us not to let ourselves get lazy with wasteful living and overindulgence. Rather, we should stay alert and pray for the strength to stand before the Son of Man. It is worth remembering of course that no-one knows the date of these events except God the Father.
Relating the Gospel to our lives today.
Happy New Year! The first week of Advent is the beginning of the Church’s calendar. But why do we begin the Church year with such an apocalyptic Gospel? Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives: His First Coming as our merciful saviour, and His Second Coming as our just judge. The readings and the Gospels over the next four Sundays bring these two themes together. They are full of upheaval, uncertainty, anticipation and hope.
The world that Jesus was born into 2000 years ago was hurting and yearning for renewal and change – much like today. Advent is about our deep yearning for God to come and fix things. It is a time to celebrate Christ’s light in the midst of darkness.
In the Advent Wreath, the 1st purple candle (Prophet’s candle) symbolizes Hope reminding us that Jesus is coming. The 2nd purple candle (Bethlehem candle) symbolizes Faith reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The 3rd rose candle (Shepherd’s candle) symbolizes Joy reminding us of the joy the world experienced at the birth of Jesus. The 4th purple candle (Angel’s candle) symbolizes Peace reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on earth, good will toward men!”
- Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives.
- He first came as our merciful saviour, in the form of a tiny baby.
- He will come again as our just judge, in great power and glory.
Help me to understand Advent. I find Your first coming – Christmas, easy to understand, but Your second coming leaves me with so many questions. Help me to focus on the most important thing – that my heart is always ready to receive You. Help me remember that I already stand before You now, every time I receive You in the Holy Eucharist.
Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.