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Homily – 1st Sunday of Advent

1st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Jeremiah 33:14-16 1
Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
December 2, 2012

We hear Jeremiah speak the prophecy of God’s promise to raise up a “just shoot” for David.  This is the prophecy of a new messiah, a great king for Israel.  It is fulfilled in the First Coming of Jesus.

Jeremiah delivered this prophecy about six hundred years before Jesus was born.  It was the time of the Babylonian Exile.  Thus it was a time of sadness.  God offered the promise of the Messiah to assure the people that there was something better coming.      But Jeremiah delivered this prophecy around six hundred years before the First Coming of Jesus.

But God’s Word and Promise are always good.  God fulfills his prophecy at the appointed time.

In four weeks, we will celebrate Christmas, reminding us of the First Coming of Jesus and how important it is for us.  But it is four weeks away.

You might not know it.  The Christmas shopping season has already begun.  Radio stations are already playing Christmas music.  People are rushing to Christmas.

But we should not rush to Christmas.  We have a whole season before then.  It’s called Advent, which means coming or arrival.  During Advent we are called to reflect on the coming of Jesus but not just the First Coming but the Second Coming.

We wait for the Second Coming.  I mentioned before that Jeremiah delivered his prophecy about 600 years before Jesus.  In fact, the prophecies of a new messiah were not new then.  They started from the time of David a couple of centuries before.

So the people had waited almost a 1,000 years.

Now we wait for the Second Coming.  It has been almost 2,000 years since Jesus last walked on Earth.  When did the prophecies about the Second Coming begin?

It was Jesus himself that spoke of his Second Coming in today’s reading.  He describes how bad things will be at the end but he also speaks of how the Son of Man will come in a cloud with power and glory.

A lot of people “missed” the First Coming of Jesus, not realizing that it ever happened.  With all that will happen before it and the Second Coming being one of power and glory, nobody will miss it.  Everyone will know when it happens.

But not everyone will be ready.

We just have to wait.

And that waiting isn’t all that easy.  Jesus warns against becoming drowsy and calls us to be vigilant.

The early disciples thought the Second Coming was going to happen in their earthly life time.  They keep vigilant.

Now 2,000 years later, we have let our guard down.  Sometimes we just think if it hasn’t happened yet, it probably isn’t going to happen today.  So, we go about our earthly business.

Do we ever think about the Second Coming?      The images that Jesus speaks of leading up to the Second Coming are fearful.  So much so that Jesus says people will die of fright.  With that in mind, we don’t like to think about those kinds of images.

Additionally, the Second Coming also means Judgment Day has arrived.  We might not feel ready for that.  Maybe we haven’t gotten our act together.  So we fear the Second Coming because we know we are not ready.      Advent is a season to remind us of what we are waiting for.  It is not a time of dread but joyful anticipation.

We do not need to fear the Second Coming.  God does not want us to dread the Second Coming.  When it does happen, all who believe in Jesus will be taken up to Heaven.  That’s a good thing.  Heaven is the ultimate gift.      But we have to wait for the gift.  Often, we don’t like to wait, especially when a gift is involved.  But waiting can be a good thing.

During our waiting, we can take time to reflect on what Christmas really means to us as our celebration of the First Coming of Jesus and what we need to do to become ready for the Second Coming.

We need to strive to do God’s Will but we can fall short.  When we fall short, then we turn to Jesus who makes Heaven possible for us by dying on the Cross.

Be vigilant.  Seek God in this season of Advent.

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