We begin Advent once again, a new year of worship of the Lord and preparing for his return.  Advent means “to come” and so we once again have this time to prepare for the Lord’s coming.  When will this take place? Jesus says: “you must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  This isn’t to scare us but to prepare us.  Much of our lives are spent going:  Going here, going there, doing this and that.  It is a very active life.  My Now we have a season that invites us to pause in our activity, to take a break from constant doing and take on a spirit of waiting, of joyful expectation for the coming of the Lord.  The world wants to use this time to be more active.  But the Church invites us not to follow the trends of the world that exhaust us and prevents us from experiencing the spiritual renewal that this season offers us.  It is not that being active is bad.  But every year we as Catholics, as the Body of Christ, have a special time of pre-activity so that we can return to our activity and have a reason and purpose for them.  So we need to have a goal.  Otherwise, our activity will become a distraction.  How many times do we find ourselves so busy with things that we become cranky or mad. 

Sometimes we don’t even know why we are doing what we are doing and lose motivation.  That’s when temptation becomes an easy alternative to follow because sinful pleasure helps us to avoid thinking about what life is all about.  So we use this time of Advent to reset our course, to reestablish a clear vision for our activities this year.  To make following Jesus Christ as our purpose in life. Christ gives us that clear vision.  He came into our world to show us the way. He left our world to prepare us a place in Heaven.  And he will return again to take us there.  So our focus in life as Christians is to prepare for the return of Jesus, The Coming, Adventus. 

How do we prepare?  How do we get ready for the coming of the Lord?  We quiet our lives.  We foster silence in our minds and our hearts.  We silence the words of the world so that we can hear the Word of God.  To listen to his word in the Bible (which means opening the bible and doing this activity called “reading”).   We also can fast, not only food but fast from the many activities, fast from electronics, television, internet, from the pleasurable things in life, in order to focus on Jesus, to spend more time in prayer, and mediate on the gift of eternal life.  Instead of watching T.V. as a family you can pray the Rosary or read from the Bible as a family.  You can go together to confession to cleanse your soul and prepare it for the Coming of the Lord. 

Jesus wants us to be ready.  He doesn’t want us to be distracted by the pleasures of life.  Pleasures are not bad unless they become the only things we live for.  Jesus makes this clear in the Gospel when he talks about the great flood.  People were eating and drinking, spending all their time pre-occupied with the pleasures of marital love…not bad things, but they lived them in excess, so much so, that they couldn’t hear God’s word.  And so they were lost in the flood.  Isn’t that the description of our world today?  How many don’t come to church anymore?  How many are just living for the pleasures of life without God?  They are not preparing for the return of Jesus. 

St. Paul speaks about those who live this life as if this life was all there is: He describes how people live in orgies and drunkenness, in promiscuity and lust, in rivalry and jealousy.  These people don’t have a game plan!  They don’t have a goal I life!  They cannot see they great gift of eternal life in heaven.  It is like speaking to a young couple and telling them to wait because God has bigger a better plans for them.  But they want the pleasure so much they don’t listen and then suffer the consequences.   But we need to live differently.  St. Paul says:  “For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;  Yes, once Christ is your life, it makes life more challenging. It makes it feel sometimes like we are climbing a mountain.  Look how many people sacrifice many things for glory on earth, for money, for fame.  But these only last for this life.  The mountain that we are climbing has everlasting life in Heaven as its goal.

Isaiah the Prophet says:  “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob.”  So the climb is hard but the view from the top of this mountain is glorious and in Heaven we will be happy forever! So it is worth the climb.  Certainly the pleasures of the world feel great for a time and that is why so many people live for them.  The mountains of lust, drunkenness, power, and jealously are false mountains and people always fall off them into ruin.  So we are climbing the true mountain, the Mountain of the Lord.

So now that we have our goal in mind let us use this time wisely and listen to the words of Jesus not with fear but with excitement when he says to us: “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”  May this time of Advent be a joy-filled time and prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. Amen. 

St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church
101 South College Street
Cedartown, GA 30125
(770) 748-1517
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