Advent- Past, Present and Future
A post from Fr Andrew for Advent- from Sunday’s Bulletin.
Today, with the blessing of the Advent wreath, we begin our new liturgical year with the season of Advent. Advent is a season of joyful preparation: we are already preparing for Christmas, Jesus’ past coming, and on Thursday we will have our annual Festival of Lessons and Carols in St Barnabas’ Cathedral. But today’s Gospel invites us to look forward to Jesus’ future coming, when the Son of Man will ‘come in a cloud with power and great glory’. So, in the midst of our preparations for our annual celebration of Christ’s Nativity, it would be a good idea to use Advent to think about how ready we are for his Second Coming. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us to watch ourselves, lest we be ‘coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life’. Maybe this is the opportunity for us to make some ‘new liturgical year resolutions’, especially as we observe the Year of Faith, and examine our consciences to look honestly at how we live our faith in our daily lives—we have purple vestments in Advent for a purpose to express our repentance and seek to follow Christ more closely. As St Paul exhorts us in our Second Reading today, let us try to ‘make more and more progress in the kind of life’ that God wants us to live, by modelling our lives on that of Jesus, in whom we are dead to sin and alive to God.
But we do not have to think into the future to ask whether we are ready to meet our Maker and what we would do if he were to walk into the room now. Because Jesus does not just have a past coming, on the first Christmas Day, and a future coming, at the Last Judgment; there is a third coming of the Messiah—right here, right now in the Church today. He challenges us with the Gospel and consoles us with the Eucharist, which wells up within us to eternal life. As we begin Advent, let us ask the Lord to bless us, as individuals and as a community, so that we may be ready to welcome him anew into our hearts.