Advent: What Are We Waiting For?
By Colette Lemire
History and faith tell us that Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden sinned and were punished. All of humanity would pay for this sin – until Jesus, the Messiah was born. He died, opening the doors of Heaven for us and shows us Salvation and hope . Jesus, through God, promised us a helper, the Holy Spirit, who is our guide and conscience for living and loving life. Then God promised an end to all suffering, that Jesus would come again and only God knows when he will send his Son again.
Advent by definition is: 1. The coming or arrival, especially of something extremely important. 2. a. The liturgical period preceding Christmas, beginning in Western churches on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and in Eastern churches in mid-November, and observed by many Christians as a season of prayer, fasting, and penitence. b. Christianity: The coming of Jesus at the incarnation. c. Christianity: See the Second Coming… www.thefreedictionary.com
We, as Roman Catholics, do not usually spend too much time thinking on Jesus’s Second Coming except at this time of the year. He came once as a human and divine baby, but he is going to come again. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church tell us:
#2612 - In Jesus “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory.
And we mention Jesus coming again during the Eucharistic Prayer…
#1404 – The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and that his is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled. Therefore we celebrate the Eucharist “awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” asking to “share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you forever through Christ our Lord.”
We hear words like watchfulness, vigilance, be aware, be ready for the bridegroom, etc. during Advent. We are meant to prepare – our hearts, our minds, and our souls. We are meant to keep Jesus at the forefront of our duties, our choices and our entire lives: NOW!
#2730 - When Jesus insists on vigilance, he always relates it to himself, to his coming on the last day and every day: today. The bridegroom comes in the middle of the night, the light that must not be extinguished is that of faith. “Come, my heart says, ‘seek his face!’”
We need to be ready and waiting to receive Jesus at all times, his Second Coming could happen anytime. Don’t panic! We need to be aware of this, but not fear it. We need to act in such a manner that we will be welcomed as his bridegroom; that we will have lived a life like he would want, following God’s commandments, and loving our neighbours. Remember the Sacraments such as the Eucharist and Reconciliation, they are meant to clean up the not-so-good-part of being human, and to keep our minds, hearts, and souls focused on Jesus. These are the things we have to do, worrying about when he will show up again, that is not our concern. God has His plan and it is perfect! No one knows when Jesus will be back, so continue to do what is right! Fill your heart, mind, spirit and soul with His love.
#2849 - Such a battle and such a victory become possible only through prayer. It is by his prayer that Jesus vanquishes the tempter, both at the onset of his public mission and in the ultimate struggle of his agony. He urges us to vigilance of the heart in communion with his own. Vigilance is “custody of the heart,” and Jesus prayed for us to the Father: Keep them in your name.” The Holy Spirit constantly seeks to awaken us to keep watch. Finally, this petition takes on all is dramatic meaning in the relation to the last temptation of our earthly battle, it asks for final perseverance. “Lo, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is he who is awake.”
#1040 - The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father know the day and the hour, only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end.
So, during Advent in the Roman Catholic Church we are waiting… We are waiting for Jesus. He comes to us as a baby every year to remind us of our vulnerability, our uniqueness and our humanness. Yes, Jesus is Human and Divine. He is of God and of Woman: what a special, special gift! Come Lord Jesus!!!