Updated: Dec 11, 2021
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
How do we understand Advent? What are we looking forward to? Is it the preparation for the birth of Christ? We know that Christ was born 2,021 years ago, but yes, we celebrate the memory of that birth. But more importantly, Advent is focused not on the birth of Christ but on the second coming of Christ. The readings of both the 1st and this 2 nd Sunday of Advent clearly speak to this: “Do not ignore this one fact, the day of the Lord will come like a thief ….. And the earth and all that is in it will be made manifest” (2 Peter 3:8-10). “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come.” Advent, therefore, is focused on what we are doing between Ascension and the second coming of Christ; I call it the “Time In-Between” and it is always a time of anxiety and expectation; a truly difficult time because we do not know what the outcome will be. There are three groups we can fall into during this time of preparation:
1. The Calculators—those preoccupied with figuring out when Christ is coming again; when the end of the world will be. But Scripture says, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority” (Acts 1:7) and again it says, "About that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Mark 13:32). What we need to be preparing for is not the end of the world but the end of our lives.
2. The Indifferent—those who simply could care less; who believe we are just human beings having a human experience on earth; nothing to account for and as Jean Paul Sartre would say, “Simply enjoy life when you can; suffer life when it comes; you will die and that is the end”. Yet Scripture says, “Do not neglect this fact; the day of the Lord will come” (2 Peter 3:8). One man said it is better for me to find out at the end that there is no God (I would have had nothing to lose) than to find out at the end that there is God and I have no chance to make things right.
3. The Determined—those who believe God and His word and, so, are engaged with life in seven ways: (A) They see the immensity of God in all of creation by recognizing God’s work in their lives and in all that is created, thereby letting the sense of God pervade all things. (B) They live in the present and stay aware of what is happening right now, allowing the present moment to become the primary focus and the past is realized to be gone while the future is yet to be determined. They spend less time worrying about the past with the full knowledge that living in the past is always the work of the devil. (C) they live life with gratitude and gratefulness, allowing peace and joy to fill their hearts with songs of praise and recognizing how everything is ok because God is in control. (D) They live a life of compassion and empathy, being able to sense and feel the joys and pains of others, and constantly aware of how their actions and words affect and impact others. (E) They recognize their worth in God and take the identity of being a child of God while recognizing others to be so too, refusing to classify humanity into classes, races, and political views. (F) They recognize that what God has declared immoral no man has power or authority to declare moral and that because an act is declared legal, according to man, does not mean it is right in the eyes of God. They live life in such a way that it is lined up with God’s word. (G) They live life always mindful of the need to stay reconciled with God, with neighbor, and with self; always seeking forgiveness from God for sins committed, asking forgiveness from those they have offended, and forgiving themselves for sins committed. Remember there is no saint without a sin and no sinner without a future.
In all, remember these words of St. Paul “The Lord God Himself will strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8-9).