Wake Up, Your Salvation is Near
I wish you all a happy New Year, because the new Liturgical Year begins today, the First Sunday of Advent. We are now in Year A of the three-year Sunday cycle and we will be reading the Gospel of St Matthew.
The beginning of Advent is focused more on Our Lord’s Second Coming than on His First Coming at Bethlehem and being ready is the key point. St Paul tells us in the Second Reading to “wake up now, salvation is nearer than it was when we were converted” (Romans 13:13). St Paul is alluding to the Second Coming of Christ when He will return on the clouds in glory to judge the living and the dead. The Scriptures always refer to the Second Coming as ‘near’ but is also clear that we don’t know when it will be. Our Lord also says in the Gospels, “No one knows the day or hour” and gives various parables when the Master goes away; the servants behave badly and then the Master returns “at an hour they do not expect.” Therefore, St Paul tells the Romans they need to be prepared and live as sons of light and of the day, rather than as people of darkness. And St Paul even gives a list of sins which need to be overcome: drunkenness, orgies, promiscuity, jealousy. Sounds a bit like the world we live in today. So, in order to be ready, we have to clean up. And the Reading today ends with St Paul saying, “Let your armour be the Lord JESUS Christ.”
Our Lord Himself, in today’s Gospel, tells His listeners that before the Great Flood people were completely unaware of what awaited them. Only Noah and his family were living godly lives. The rest were all asleep. Similarly, we do not know when our lives will end, so be ready, says Our Lord. Be always in a state of grace, awake, because we do not know when He will call us from this world. Our Lord is saying, “Do not be like that man or that woman, who was not ready at the time of Noah when the flood came.”
Advent is an excellent time to renew our preparations for Our Lord coming to town. What better way to do so than by making a good and honest Confession? The reason Our Lord came into the world was because it was shrouded in darkness. The message of Christmas is that the Light has prevailed and the darkness has not overcome it. So, as we head towards the celebration of the coming of the True Light, let us put behind us our sins and put on the only armour that will save us: Our Lord JESUS Christ.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC