This weekend we start another Liturgical New Year B. Advent has always been a happy time for most people. Even in this difficult time, there is something about Christmas and the coming of the Messiah - the Lord - the realization of all the promises that God has made to His people find their fulfilment in a stable, a little child. Our year of prayer will carry through the liturgical year. This rhythm and pattern are a blessing for us, providing a spiritual support for all the bits and pieces of daily living, during the different seasons. This progression keeps our lives grateful and centred on God.
We begin this season of Advent in a spirit of hope and expectation. During this time, we look forward not just to the birthday of Jesus at Bethlehem but also for His second coming at the end of time. Why are these four weeks before Christmas called “Advent”? The term comes from a Latin word “adventus” meaning ‘coming, arrival’. We immediately think it refers to the coming of Jesus at Christmas time and that is correct. But that is not the whole story. In fact, we can speak of three comings of the Lord. The coming of the Child Jesus in Bethlehem, which we anticipate and prepare for in these four weeks. That is what we may call the First Coming.
The Gospel speaks in ominous terms of the end of the world and what we refer to as the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time.” Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come”. However, there is still a third coming which forms an important and indispensable link between the First and Second Comings. It is the welcoming of Jesus into our lives in the here and now. This is something which takes place every day – moment by moment. Through it we both acknowledge the First Coming of Jesus in Bethlehem and prepare for the Second Coming at an unknown future date. The Lord Jesus calls us to be alert and watchful for His coming. He comes to us each and every day and He knocks on the door of our heart and home. So listen for His voice and welcome Him into our life. Let His word in the Scriptures and the work of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us draw us to a deeper faith, hope, and yearning for His kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.