AN ADVENT CHALLENGE
The first Sunday of Advent marks the end of the liturgical season of ordinary time, and we begin a new liturgical year. In this season of Advent 2023, I propose a challenge.
1. Celebrate Christmas and the Incarnation of Christ with joy; and
2. Reflect on the end of time; and ask if you will be ready when He returns.
Advent is a season of preparation and waiting. Mother Church reminds us during Advent to prepare for Christ's second coming, and to examine our own lives and ask, "Am I ready for my own death? Am I ready for judgment when Christ comes again?"
"Are we laboring to make our lives conform to His?" Thomas A. Kempsis, Page 15, Imitation of Christ.
Bishop Barron explains, "Christianity in a certain sense is a religion of fulfillment. The Lord has come, the Incarnation and the Resurrection have taken place. It's happened already. But in another sense, Christianity is permanently a religion of waiting, because we wait in joyful hope for the second coming of the Lord. That's why there is a permanent Advent quality to the Christian life."
There are 106 references in the Bible to waiting. Most of us, and society at large, does not like to wait. Life is faster than ever, and a sense of immediacy infects every aspect of our lives. Reflect on today's readings, does anything resonate with you?
Isaiah 63:17, "Return for the sake of your servants."
Psalm 80:8, "Give us new life."
First Corinthians 1:6-7, "As the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord, Jesus Christ."
Mark 13:33, "Jesus said to his disciples, 'Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.'"
In His word, we are reminded to be aware of God's presence and to continue in love and faith until he comes again. That is the true meaning of preparing for and celebrating Christmas.