First Sunday of Advent

In pop culture, advent, if recognized at all, is simply preparation for Christmas. It began on Black Friday, or earlier, whenever marketers decide to begin tantalizing consumers. For Catholics, Advent begins today – and advent is not merely preparation for Christmas.

There are three advents, because there are three “arrivals” of Jesus Christ. The first, historical arrival took place in Bethlehem and is world-famous for its significance. The second advent is the arrival of Jesus Christ in the heart of the believer. This takes place at our Baptism, renewed at Communion, and strengthened whenever we consciously welcome Our Lord to dwell in our hearts – less flashy than Christmas, but no less important. The third, least associated with Christmas, is the second coming when Jesus will return in glory and usher in the concluding chapter of the human story.

Odd, then, that while our friends and neighbors are immersed in the routine of shopping, we Catholics are hearing about the end of the world. This week, let us take time to meditate on this fact and be open to whatever the Lord wishes to teach us.

December 1st, 2013