Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,141; 1 Thessalonians 3:12–4:2; Luke 21:25-28,34-36)
Advent, A Time to Prepare for His Coming
“They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud.” (Luke 21:27)
Don’t you find it strange that today’s Gospel reading would focus on the end times and not Christmas? But as confusing as this may seem at first, it really is appropriate. There are a lot of similarities between Christmas and the Second Coming.
First, there is the obvious similarity that both events are marked by the coming of Jesus. It’s true that he came as a baby at Christmas, and at the Second Coming, he will come as a conquering king. But in both instances, it’s still Jesus, the all-holy Son of God, who is breaking into our finite, limited world.
Second, in both instances Jesus comes to bring the kingdom of God. At Christmas, he came to inaugurate that kingdom through his preaching, his miracles, his death, and his resurrection. At the Second Coming, he will bring to fulfillment what he began at Christmas. All sin and suffering will be wiped away, and we will enter into eternal life with all the angels and saints.
Finally, both Christmas and the Second Coming are times of excitement mixed with awe. At Christmas, we hear angels singing, see a magnificent star, and watch Herod tremble with fear. At the Second Coming, the heavens will open to reveal Jesus, shining like the sun, and all who are opposed to him will face his judgment. Both are times of great hope that call us to examine our own lives.
So as Advent begins, think about who Jesus is for you. This little baby in a manger is also the Suffering Servant who gave up his life to set you free from sin and death. He is the Lord of all creation who is coming back to bring his faithful people to heaven. May God open our eyes this season, so that we can see Jesus in a new way and be transformed by what we see!
“Jesus, I want to dedicate this season to seeing you more fully. Come, Lord, and make me ready to greet you when you come again!”
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- The first reading opens with these words of great promise and warning: “The days are coming, says the Lord, …” As you prepare your hearts to celebrate Christmas this year, what steps can you take to receive the Lord into your life in a deeper way?
- In the Responsorial Psalm, we ask God to “make known” to us his “ways,” to “teach” us his “paths”, and to “guide” us in his “truth” (Psalm 25:4-5). In what ways does God teach and reveal his intentions to you? What additional steps can you take each day, and especially during Advent, to be more attentive to his promptings?
- In the second reading, St. Paul says that loving one another is the key to “being blameless in holiness” at the “coming of our Lord Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13). Why is there such a strong relationship between love and being ready to receive Christ at his “coming”? What are some practical steps you can take to demonstrate more deeply Christ’s love, and your love, to your family and to others? In what way will this love in action help them to be more ready to receive Christ?
- In the Gospel, we also hear words that speak of the signs that will arise at the end of the world, the final return of Christ. We are cautioned to be vigilant, so that day doesn’t catch us “by surprise like a trap” (Luke 21:34). Sin causes us not to be vigilant. What does being vigilant mean to you? What are some things you can do to root out areas of sin and temptation in your life?
- The meditation begins by asking this question: “Don’t you find it strange that today’s Gospel reading would focus on the end times and not Christmas?” How would you describe the similarities between Christmas and the Second Coming?
- Take some time now to pray that the Lord would use this Advent Season to prepare your heart to receive Him more deeply this Christmas, and when he comes again in glory. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.