Saturday, November 30, 2013

First Sunday of Advent "Jesus is Coming; Welcome Him"

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. Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of the night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you must also be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus allow me to spend this time in prayerful dialogue with you. Permit me to place all of my worries and cares aside to prepare myself for your coming during this Advent season.

Petition: My God, each day you make an unexpected showing in my life. Help me to be attentive so that I can welcome you upon your arrival.

1. Be Prepared. Often in the course of our busy lives events catch us off guard and unprepared. How many birthdays or anniversaries of loved ones have slipped our memories till the last moment or even after the fact? If however there is one event that needs to be placed in bold on our calendar it is Christ’s secondcoming. Jesus is truly coming, seeking hearts where he will be welcome. The danger of being caught off guard is greater than we first perceive. Like the people in today’s Gospel passage, routine can set in. The hustle and bustle of every day life can blind us to seeing and recognizing Christ’s continued presence and guidance. Are there aspects of my life that I wouldn’t want Jesus to know about? Are there people I have a hard time dealing with? What do I need to change in my life so that Jesus will be a welcome guest in every moment of my day?

2. Jesus is Coming. The Church offers us these forty days of Advent to prepare for the Savior’s birth. But Christ doesn’t come only once a year at Christmas. As our Holy Father Pope John Paul II constantly points out: “Christ yesterday, today and forever.” Christ came in his incarnation, and he is still present with us in scripture and in the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus also comes to us, hidden, in our neighbor in need; we should be attentive so as to recognize his coming and serve Christ by living charity towards those around us. Do I see the Incarnation as the greatest gift that God the Father could have given to humanity? Am I aware that the fulfillment of Jesus’ words, “and behold I am with you till the end of time” find fulfillment in the Eucharist as Pope John Paul points out so clearly in his recent apostolic letter, Mane Nobiscum Domine (Stay with Us, Lord)? Do I have a great love for Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament and a great longing to receive him worthily?

3. Am I Prepared to Welcome Him? Advent is upon us and the celebration of the birth of Christ is just around the corner. How much our hearts long for the joy and peace that the angels foretold the night of Jesus’ birth! Will Jesus find a place to be born this year? Like that first Christmas he will go from door-to-door, in the womb of Our Blessed Mother, seeking a place to stay. Maybe like that first Christmas years ago, there will be some houses where no room will be available for Jesus. Perhaps they will be too filled up with the concerns of the festive moment. Yet, while all the mansions and palaces may be booked up, there will be other humbler places for the little Lord Jesus to stay: simple hearts littered with straw and afire with burning love on a cold winter night. Offer Jesus your heart; just leave the door open a crack and he will find his way in.

Dialogue with Christ: My Lord Jesus, I know that I am not worthy of the great love you have for me. I get so caught up in the concerns of the moment that at times I forget about what is most important. When you knock on my door this Christmas I desire to be awake with my candle burning, prepared to receive you into my heart.

Resolution: I will arrive five minutes early to Mass and prepare my soul for Jesus’ coming in the Blessed Sacrament.

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