There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.
Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man
Luke 21:25-28, 43-36
Advent is a time of waiting, of expectation, of preparation and more importantly of hope. This might not seem the case from this Sunday's Gospel - but if we look a little deeper into the words we shall see that it is indeed a time of Hope. It is an Eschatological Hope.
Jesus warns us about all the terrible things that will be happening when He comes in Glory at the Second Coming (Parousia), He says that "Men will die of fear". But what does He tell us to do? Take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand
Why? Because Jesus is our Hope "For in hope we were saved" Romans 8:24. We know that our help is in the Name of the Lord and that our "Liberation is near at hand" Luke 21:28
We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.
What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God's chosen ones?
It is God who acquits us. Who will condemn? It is Christ (Jesus) who died, rather, was raised, who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?
As it is written: "For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We know that when we are united with Jesus, nothing can separate us from His Love - nothing can separate us from Him. We need to have Faith in His Promises and Trust in Him.
Jesus is the Light of the World, He is the Light that dispels all Darkness. He is the Coming One who is coming in Glory on the Clouds. The first time He came humbly and hidden. He was born a little child in Bethlehem (the House of Bread) so that He would become the Life of the world. Now we wait for Him to come again in Glory, to stop all injustice and hatred. We long and we yearn for Him to establish His Kingdom so that the Sacred Heart of Jesus will reign in the heart's of ALL men.
We, who have the gift of Faith have no need to fear. For fear is a sign of unbelief. Rather we should always be praying to the Lord that He increase our faith, that He might strengthen it - so that like the man in the Gospel we can say "Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24
Whenever we pray the Lord's Prayer we are praying for the end of this world (or this age, the Eschaton). "Thy Kingdom Come!" How many of us are aware of this when we pray? When God's Kingdom has finally been established here on earth there will be no more wickedness, or sin, or evil, or pain, or sorrow , or even death. Everything will be subject to Him to whom belongs "the Kingdom the power and the Glory, now and forever" AMEN
So this Advent, as we prepare ourselves for the Coming of Jesus. Let us remember both His first coming in the flesh and His Second Coming in Glory.
As the mystic Angelus Silesius said:
"Even if Christ were born a thousand times in Bethlehem / If he is not born in thee you are lost for eternity."
So let us ache for Him so much that we make room for Him in our Hearts. That He will be born in our Heart so that the reign of His Sacred Heart may begin from within. This requires a conversion (metanoia) in our daily walk of faith. The beginning of the Kingdom starts will the Call to Conversion "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" Matthew 3:2
When we have made room for Jesus in our Heart through Repentance, we can then conceive Him in our heart through faith and the power of the Holy Spirit. The more we nourish Him in our heart through faith, the better we will be to receive Him in the Eucharist. Then truly united with Him in Holy Communion we will have no fear for Him to return in Glory. This is why the Priest prays in the Mass after the Lord's Prayer: “in your mercy keep us free from sin as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our savior Jesus Christ".
We wait for JOY because we know that our God has come to fulfill His Promise of Liberation, or Redemption and Final Salvation! Our Salvation began when we were Baptised, and sealed with the Spirit in Confirmation. Advent then is for us a time of joyful hope as we wait for Jesus to come and complete the process of Salvation that began when we were "reborn" in Water and Spirit and made "sons in the Son" and "Co-heirs with Christ".
May the Lord "confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints." 1 Thessalonians 3:13