This Sunday we begin the journey of Advent. It is a time of preparation, waiting, of hope, of expectation. It is also a time of penance (yes, just like the Lenten Season). To prepare spiritually involves penance which enables our mind and heart to listen for the voice of Jesus, the one who has come and will come again at the end of time.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem puts it beautifully. “At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look, then, beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord … His first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach us by gentle persuasion. This time, whether people like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom, by necessity. [1]

It is very easy to get caught up in preparing for the first coming – so much so that we can forget the second!

Jesus warns us in today’s Gospel – “You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.[2]

Do not be afraid though for the light of Christ will enlighten your journey through Advent until Christ calls you.

Sr. Rosaleen Shaw OP

[1] (St. Cyril of Jerusalem; transl. www.universalis.com)

[2] Mt.24:43-44