Today begins the second of the four weeks of the season of Advent, in which we prepare ourselves in a special way for the coming of Jesus. The word Advent means ‘coming.’
Firstly, we prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas, the historical birth of Jesus Christ, His first coming into the world. The angel Gabriel told the poor shepherds who were nearby when Jesus was born, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “(Luke 2:11) The Mass readings during Advent remind us how the people of the Old Testament waited in hopeful expectation for the coming of the Messiah.
Secondly, in addition to celebrating the historical event of Jesus’ birth, the most important event in all human history, we prepare ourselves spiritually to receive Him and His grace in a special way at Christmas. This way, our hearts and souls can become spiritual mangers ready to receive the Child Jesus.
How can we prepare ourselves during Advent?
We can prepare ourselves this Advent by amending our lives and turning away from sin. Let us resolve to make Christ the center of our lives through daily prayer (i.e. the Holy Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy), frequent participation at Holy Mass and Holy Communion, and frequent Confession. In order to grow in holiness, it is necessary to go to Confession at least once a year, but once a month or once a week is better.
Thirdly, we call to mind, with a joyful hope, the fact that Jesus will come again! Jesus will return! This will be His Second and Final coming. The Mass readings during Advent remind us of Jesus’ Second Coming and the need to be prepared at all times to receive Him at His Second Coming, when He comes in the clouds of heaven with great power and glory to separate the wicked from the good.
“Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”(Revelation 22:12–13)
“Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. 8Let the rivers clap their hands,let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord, for He comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98:7–9)
*It is important to note that although no one know that exact day or hour of Jesus’ return, Jesus did give us warnings throughout the Scriptures as to the signs that would precede His final coming.
“3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all[a]these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,[b] and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. …
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it[d] is near—at the doors! ~Matthew 24:3–13,29–33
*One glance at the news headlines is enough to realize that many of these signs are already being fulfilled. Thus, Jesus’ return must be near.
Excerpt from today’s Mass readings :
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out.
Since everything is to be dissolved in this way,
what sort of persons ought you to be,
conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,
waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God
… But according to His promise
we await new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.
Therefore, beloved, since you await these things,
be eager to be found without spot or blemish before Him, at peace.”
~2 Peter 3: 10–14
We must sanctify and purify ourselves every day so that we may be ready to receive Him at Christmas and when He comes again in glory upon the clouds of heaven.
Have A Blessed and Joyous Advent!