First Sunday of Advent, November 28
With Prayerful Anticipation in Celebrating our Lord’s First Coming, and with Joyful Hope, May We Never Tire of Seeking the Grace of Seeing Him Face-to-Face When He Comes Again in All His Glory.
Many Christian churches in the East and West, since the early centuries of our faith, have marked special seasons to celebrate the central truths of Christianity.
The Advent season, which precedes Christmas and Epiphany, reminds us that we are a pilgrim people, aliens and exiles in this age, who long for our true home with God in Heaven, and who await, with joyful hope, for the return of the Lord to bring all creation to fulfillment.
We read today from Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord…strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”
Today, on this First Sunday of Advent, at the beginning of a new Liturgical Year, our Lord is reminding us in today’s Gospel of the tribulations and awesome signs which shall precede His Second Coming, which we call the Parousia, when, as the Gospel tells us, all peoples throughout the world “…will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Yet, at the same time, we read from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, in our First Reading today, God speaking to His children the words, “The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land.”
This fulfillment of God’s promises to His children which we read about in today’s Scriptures begins with the First Coming, when the Eternal Word takes flesh upon Himself, setting aside the awesome nature of His Divinity, so that He may become one like us, like you and me, in all ways, except sin.
This Jesus, whom we have come to know and believe as the prophesied Messiah, the Only-Begotten Son of God the Father, the Eternal Word made flesh, reaches out to us – in the past, present and future – to fill our hearts with hope – the hope in knowing and believing that, in the midst of the trials and crosses which you and I bear in this life, we truly have a God who understands our weaknesses and the tears we sometimes shed.
We truly have a God who has always been at our side – always loving us, always embracing us – giving us the strength He knows that we need to endure the life that we travel daily through this vale of tears in which we find ourselves.
And Jesus’ First Coming, which we celebrate on Christmas Day, a birth in a manger to teach us that God places great value on the virtue of humility, is intimately and inextricably tied to His Second Coming, in which we shall see Him in all His glory, bringing to perfection, bringing to completion God’s Kingdom on Earth – a Kingdom in which each of His faithful children becomes a citizen by virtue of our Baptism into the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
God’s Kingdom on Earth today is imperfect and incomplete, for it is composed of human beings who are flawed and imperfect, due to our inherent sinful nature. Yet, in spite of this, God calls each of us to enter into His Divine life, into His Mystical Body – for Christ Himself is the visible Presence of God’s Kingdom in our midst.
Christ came the first time to teach us, His children of all the generations that would follow, about God’s Divine Love and Mercy, and He willingly embraced the Cross, forever mending the fractured relationship which existed between God and man due to Original Sin – so that we may be reconciled to His Father, so that, through His grace, His faithful children may become co-heirs with Him for all eternity.
When Christ comes again, His glory will fully reveal and manifest the eternal perfection and splendor of His Kingdom, for human history and all creation will finally achieve their ultimate fulfillment!
Jesus offers us today the encouragement to stand firm against the tribulations and temptations which lead to the many disorders which we find in today’s world.
As we begin this new Liturgical Year with our Lord warning us to remain vigilant, lest the “…day catch you by surprise like a trap” – you and I should consider His words as sound advice for us each and every day of our lives. For you and I “know neither the day nor the hour” in which we will be called from this life. And as I have mentioned several times in the past, there is no escaping that final call!
Our Lord does not speak to us in the Scriptures to frighten us. He only wishes to prepare us, so that, through our vigilance, we may look forward with expectation and optimism – so that we may look forward with hopeful anticipation to the wonders which await us, who have made our relationship with Jesus Christ a priority in our lives.
And it is this intimate relationship with our Savior which guides us through the ups and downs, the peaks and valleys of daily life – a relationship which recognizes that this Jesus died for you and me, so that we may have life and have it to the fullest.
It is a relationship which gives us strength in times of sorrow and grief. It is a relationship which gives us hope in a life infinitely more wonderful than anything we could possibly experience on this side of the eternal.
And this relationship which you and I forge with the Son of God and the Son of Man is one in which we take refuge and great comfort, knowing and believing that Jesus is our dearest and closest Friend and Brother, knowing and believing that He is the One who will never abandon us in our times of trial.
In the midst of the many disorders which we find in our culture today, Jesus Christ represents our only true hope! And it is this faith of ours, which we hold dear to our hearts, which transforms us and gives us a hopeful confidence – as we look forward to celebrating His First Coming in humility and poverty, as you and I look forward to the awesome and wondrous event when Christ will come again, only this time in the fullness of His Awesome Glory, to make all things new!
Our Lord speaks today of the signs and terrifying events that will occur prior to that final and glorious day – a day in time known only to the Eternal Father Himself. But if you and I are a people of faith, if we are a people who have truly forged a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, then we have nothing to fear, and everything for which to hope!
For this God of ours – who is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Sanctifier – is a God who is our dearest and closest Friend, and who loves each and every one of us beyond all manner of human description or understanding.
And with prayerful anticipation in celebrating our Lord’s First Coming, with joyful hope may we never tire of seeking the grace of seeing Him face-to-face when He comes again in all His glory, repeating the words our psalmist gives us today, “…for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “May the Lord…strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.” (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
- “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:25-27)
- “But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
- “Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5b)
- “The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, at that time, I make a just shoot spring up for David; he shall do what is right and just in the land.” (Jeremiah 33:14-15)
- “And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
- “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.” (Luke 21:34-35)
- “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36)
- “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)
- “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
- “…for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long.” (Psalm 25:5bc)
- “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28)
Prayer for the Day
“Heavenly Father, All-Powerful God,cf. Liturgy of the Hours (First Sunday of Advent Prayer)
Our hearts desire the warmth of Your Love
and our minds are searching for the Light of Your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Savior
and give us the strength to grow in unselfish love
and the will for doing good here on Earth.
“May the dawn of the coming of Your Son, Jesus Christ,
find within us a hopeful and welcoming heart and
an eagerness to rejoice in His Presence,
that we may be found worthy to eternally live at His side
in the home which You have prepared for us
in Your Heavenly Kingdom from all eternity,
where He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever. Amen.”