The following is by Father Valentine Young, OFM, a faithful Catholic priest who died on 17 January 2020. It was delivered sometime between 2013 and 2020. To learn more about Father Valentine, please scroll to the bottom of the page.
1st Sunday of Advent, Year B
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—Taken from the Saint Isaac Jogues Illuminated Missal, Gradual, and Lectionary.
OU ARE PROBABLY aware that the word ADVENT means “a coming toward” or “an arrival at.” That is why the word ADVENT is used to designate this period of the year to prepare us for “The Coming” of Christ into our hearts. And many people think this is also done to prepare for the commemoration or re-enactment of Christ’s coming, as He did when He was born as an infant in Bethlehem now over two thousand years ago.
Various comings: And this is true. However, when we examine the liturgical texts which the Church presents to us during this period, we find that a lot more is implied than just Christ’s FIRST COMING on the first Christmas. There are two other “advents” of which the Church tries to remind us. There is Christ’s coming to us personally as individuals. For us personally, this is the most important coming. It implies that we are in the state of grace, for that is the most important ingredient of Christ’s coming. We know that we cannot get to heaven without it. And then there is given us the reminder about Christ coming at the end of time. This, too, will be an important moment in our lives. (In the Traditional liturgy we heard about this coming last Sunday, as well.)
A summary: When we sum up what I have said, one can see that the season of Advent really involves a threefold coming of Christ:
(1) Christ’s birth in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago;
(2) Christ coming to us individually or personally;
(3) Christ, as he will come at the end of the world.
The Church’s liturgy—especially in its Masses and Divine Office for the holy season of Advent—reminds us of all three comings.
The Gospel: In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord ends His parable by saying: “Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.” All of us are now closer to our moment of death than we were last year or in any time in the past. Is there anything going on in our lives that we would be embarrassed about, if we were to die soon?
Doing more: Is there anything more that we could do to show that God is important in our lives? Many years ago I recall seeing a movie about the life of St. Vincent de Paul. On his death-bed he told some of his followers who were gathered around him: “We can never say we have done enough for God; we always have to be willing to do more.” And I think this is especially true for faithful followers of Christ now when they see the Church—Christ’s Kingdom on earth—so plagued with difficulties, especially now with difficulties from right within the Church. During this coming year, are we going to be satisfied with just doing what we have always done? I don’t think that will cut it when we consider the current condition of the world and the Church. If we are not the ones to do more praying and sacrifice, then who will it be? +