The call of Advent is for all to attend to the coming of Christ. In responding to this call, we first recognize that the coming of Christ is a many-fold presentation of the Lord. It is Christ’s coming at the end of days.
Our recognition of Jesus as the universal King of Glory celebrated on the last Sunday of our liturgical year has a reprise here on the First Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of our worship year.
For us as Catholic Christians, our days are those of waiting in active hope for the fulfillment of all creation in our Lord’s glorious return. As we actively wait for the great day of the Lord at the end of time, we also give thought to the end of our own days. For as time moves on in the providence of God, our individual time moves us along to our going to God. As time moves us to the glorious culmination of time in God, so do each of us advance to our Lord’s coming to each of us at the end of our days.
As we come to the last two weeks of Advent, this Second Coming theme gives way to our commemoration of the Lord’s coming in flesh, the Nativity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Having reflected on our expectation of our Lord’s coming in glory, we attend to those events and persons of our Lord’s presentation in flesh: to Mary at the Annunciation, to John the Baptist and Elizabeth at the Visitation, to Joseph in a dream, to Israel at Jesus’ Nativity, to the nations at the Epiphany, and within the person and ministry at Jesus’ baptism by John at the Jordan river.
May prayer, the Scriptures, devotional worship, the Liturgy of the Hours and the sacraments of penance and Eucharist lead us to live Advent’s call! Stay awake! Be ready! The Son of Man comes!
(Father John Spiegel, pastor of St. Mary of the Visitation Parish in Iowa City.)