Midnight Musings

THE COMING OF THE LORD

We are buying calendars in stores, getting ready for new year. In fact we have many ways of measuring the years: the calendar year, the fiscal year, the school year, or the church year to retell the story of God’s love. Kids love to replay discs, as do adults. So we replay every year from this first Sunday of Advent to last Sunday’s feast of Christ the King, the story of Jesus, his coming, death, resurrection. His story helps us to understand the story of our lives.

How do you choose a novel to read? Maybe read the last page or pages to make sure there is a happy ending. Today we start retelling the story of salvation, and we look at the last page, how all history ends, to see the happy ending.

If we lose sight of the ultimate return of Jesus, we lose perspective. There is not just “an end” to our lives and to the world but “God’s end” to everything. He has the last word; in the end we are answerable to him. The image of the final coming of the Lord or the return of Jesus reminds us that things have direction.

In Advent we reflect on the three Comings of Christ: his coming in the past, in the present and in the future. We do not just talk of God coming in past time. Many might want to welcome an infant Christ, but the Church keeps pointing to the risen Christ who challenges us to change. There is no infant to meet any more, only the Lord who will come in glory, the one who comes to us daily. To put it briefly, the One who came in the past and who will come in glory in the future is the Lord we can meet every day of our lives.

We do not reflect just on God who comes in future time. Jesus does not want us to worry about when he will come again; that would be to waste the preciousness of the moment, the glorious gift of the present, the only time we have. The present is the only place where we live, the place where transformation is possible, where hope is born. “Now” is the “hour”– not chronological time but a moment of opportunity.

Advent says: be careful we do not sleep through life. We hear the same from St. Paul: “it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep;” and Jesus says: “Stay awake” [be prepared to meet the Lord]. People can sleep through life, when they do not reflect on the bigger questions of life’s meaning, where we come from, where we are going, what values we live by, and when they fail to sense God’s presence (spirituality). People can sleep through Christmas– when they get decorations right, parties, gifts, but have failed to notice Christ, the one Christmas celebrates.

Isaiah talked about waking and walking in the light of the Lord. When we walk in the light of the Lord, we see things differently than others see them. We see the same things, the good and bad, the happy and tragic, but we see them differently. In the light of Christ wee see more clearly what really is, the people and things around us; we see how to live in God’s presence.

Yours in Christ,

FR. PAUL VUTURO
Fr. Paul Vuturo