1st Sunday of Advent
By Fr. Victor Feltes
During this Advent season, we are called to contemplate three distinct comings of Christ. The first is his coming in the past, twenty centuries ago at the first Christmas. Answering the Prophet Isaiah’s plea, our Lord rent the heavens and came down for the sake of his servants by assuming a human nature. Through the Incarnation, God wrought an awesome deed we could not have hoped for, something unheard of from of old. The Shepherd of Israel came down to save us. By his birth, the Lord let us see his face that we may be saved.
The second coming of Jesus Christ which we contemplate in Advent is literally called his Second Coming. Like a master leaving to travel abroad, our Lord has promised his servants he will return some unknown future day and hour. He will return in unveiled glory as both our King and Judge, so we must strive to be firm to the end, irreproachable for the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the upcoming weeks, when you hear St. John the Baptist preach about ‘making straight the way for the Lord,’ realize that these words are addressed to you. Now is the time to go to Confession and cast your sins away. You do not know when the Lord is coming. So be watchful and alert, lest our Lord come suddenly — on the Last Day of this world or the last day of your life — and find you unprepared.
So what is the third coming of Jesus Christ we should contemplate this Advent? The first is his coming in the past, the second is his coming in the future, and the third is his coming now. He comes to us now most marvelously in the Holy Eucharist, but he also comes to us during our ordinary days.
The master in Jesus’ parable “leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.” Each of us has work to do during this Advent season; some tasks which come as part of our regular duties and others which are particular to this time of year. Whatever your state in life, you will likely be busy this month. May you be occupied with the good work our Lord entrusts to you, rather than distracted and burdened by ill-chosen pursuits of your own. But amidst your daily tasks, whatever they may be, be watchful for our Lord.
Jesus concludes today’s parable declaring, “What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” Each of us is called to be on watch for him. And Jesus tells us on another occasion, “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” So vigilantly keep watch for the Lord. The past has gone and the future is not yet here. The only time you can ever encounter our Lord is the present moment. So as you go throughout this Advent, contemplate his presence with you from moment to moment.
Be attentive to him in times of dedicated personal prayer, even if starting with just five or ten minutes a day. And converse with him, commune with him, throughout the tasks of your daily life. Jesus came to us first at Christmas. He will come again in glory on the Last Day. And he comes to us at any moment we watch for him.