Advent is “putting on Christ”

The Lord Is My Chef Sunday Recipe for the Soul

First Sunday of Advent-A, 01 December 2019

Isaiah 2:1-5 ><}}}*> Romans 13:11-14 ><}}}*> Matthew 24:37-44

From Google.

A blessed first Sunday of Advent to you my dear reader and follower! Today we begin another new year in our Church calendar with this season of Advent. Both the word “Advent” and its concept were borrowed from ancient Rome when provinces prepared for the coming, or “adventus” of the emperor to visit the occupied territories of his empire.

But, Jesus is more than any emperor of the world for he is true God and King of kings, the one who had come, always comes, and will be coming again at the end of time to judge us, both the living and the dead. This Season of Advent gives us the opportunities to intensely prepare for the Lord’s adventus that always begins in our hearts.

Advent has a two-fold character: beginning today until December 16, the readings and prayers set our sights to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time or the parousia. From December 17-24, focus shifts to the first Christmas when Jesus was born in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago.

According to St. Bernard of Clairvaux, between these two comings of Christ is his third coming that happens daily in our lives, so ordinary but very sudden like in the time of Noah.

Photo by author, sacristy of our Parish, Advent 2018.

Jesus said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 24:37-39

Staying awake, actively waiting for the Lord.

Jesus is definitely coming at the end of time. It is useless to be concerned when that would be because it will be sudden and unexpected. What matters most is our attitude of “staying awake, actively waiting” for the Lord’s coming again.

The Lord cites to us the example of Noah whom God had instructed to build an ark in the Old Testament for the coming great flood meant to cleanse the earth of sins and evil.

To actively wait for the Lord’s parousia means to be a sign of contradiction like Noah who faithfully obeyed God’s will in building an ark and later gathering into it all the animal species of earth.

Imagine the insults Noah had to endure from people laughing at him while building the ark. Yet, he never wavered and faithfully fulfilled his task before the Lord.

From Google.

Jesus cites three other instances of displaying the right attitude in actively waiting for his Second Coming: the two men out in the field, the two women grinding, and the master of the house.

One of the two men in the field was taken while one of the two women grinding was also taken because they were responsibly fulfilling their tasks when the parousia comes; their respective counterparts were most likely doing nothing or very lazy that they were left behind.

The mini parable Jesus inserted at the end shows us the imagery of the master of the house staying awake to keep the thief from breaking into the house in the middle of the night.

These are all about having the right attitude as disciples of Jesus actively awaiting his return. From Noah to the other man in the field, the other woman grinding, and the master of the house, we find from their attitudes of active waiting budding forth their hope in God.

Generally speaking, the way we live our lives determines also how we hope in the Lord.

And this we find in St.Paul’s exhortation to the Christians of Rome:

Brothers and sisters: you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. 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; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealous. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh.

Romans 13:11-14
Altar table at the Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Bagbaguin, Santa Maria, Bulacan, Advent 2018.

Putting on Christ to show his light to dispel darkness.

St. Paul wrote the Christians in Rome more than 2000 years ago to remind them of the fierce spiritual warfare between good and evil, light and darkness while they were living in the midst of a pagan world and culture.

It was a very difficult time to be truly Christians but St. Paul felt the need to remind everyone of the ever-present reality of the parousia. Like in most of his letters, he captured by the grace of the Holy Spirit the beautiful imagery of disciples with the right attitude awaiting the Second Coming as “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ”.

Putting on our Lord Jesus Christ is not just a mere call to be morally perfect persons but for us to strive in making the light of Christ shine on us so that we may manifest Jesus more in us and in our lives.

Simply put, it is becoming “Christ-like”, a true Christian who is “dead to sin but alive for God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11), one who lives differently by making Jesus more present especially in these difficult and troublesome times.

The time of St. Paul was no different with our present age with growing materialism and consumerism among peoples, including Christians afflicted with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s “dictatorship of relativism” that have removed God from every aspect of human life, including Christmas itself!

See how we are so focused on Christmas countdowns than with the very reason of the Season, Jesus Christ. See how the media equate Christmas with material things, sugarcoating it with sentimental feelings as most Christmas songs nowadays indicate.

Advent is seeing more of Jesus, than of time.

On this first Sunday of Advent, our sights are redirected anew into Christ’s Second Coming with our important task of making him present in our very selves.

As children of the light, we slowly discover and realize how our definitive salvation is slowly moving towards its fullness in Christ’s parousia when everything is totally changed by God with peace finally reigning supreme over all.

Violets on the pedestal of our Patron Saint, John the Evangelist.

This was the vision of Isaiah a long, long time ago.

It had been fulfilled in Christ’s first coming in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago and it is being fulfilled daily through people filled with hope in God’s justice and love.

In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; many people shall come and say: “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain…” They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O God of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Isaiah 2:2-3, 4-5

People who keep on wondering and asking when will Jesus come again are not really interested with the Lord’s Second Coming but only with themselves like the people during the time of Noah – oblivious to anything else and busy with their own pursuits.

The more we think of the WHEN, the less we think of the WHO of Advent. Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ to be filled with his light until all darkness in life is dispelled. Amen.

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