Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Begin With The End In Mind

The first Sunday of the year the church gives us the gospel that focuses on the seconding coming of Jesus. Obviously advent is about looking forward to the first coming of Jesus at Christmas. Really looking to welcome Jesus into our lives in a new way. Still whenever and however Jesus comes into human experience there are going to be some things that we should expect.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
The first principle about Jesus coming is that not everyone will be expecting it. In fact, the vast majority of society of going to miss it.  People will go about their business and be completely oblivious to the fact that Jesus wants to come to us. Even among close friends there are no guarantees. Men working in the field together and women grinding at the mill together would know each other very well. People worked long hours at boring jobs and often did so with the same people year after year. They would get close. Jesus is saying that even if one is ready to meet Him the other might not be.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
So we have here a waiting but an active waiting. In the Old Testament we see thousands of years happening between the promise of Jesus and His arrival. Obviously with the second coming we have seen it again. God often asks us to wait and we don't really understand why. For me, I end up not thinking about the second coming so much. The waiting gets so long it does not seem like it is ever going to happen.

Thinking about it Jesus often comes into our lives by surprise. We live lives where we avoid serious sin and go to mass and confession. That is we are spiritually awake. That can go on for quite a while and then He comes like a thief in the night. We have our own little encounter with grace, a kind of Christmas. Jesus breaks through the normal routine and changes us. He might come through an interesting presentation of His word or maybe through a needy person coming into your life or perhaps through friends or family sharing something with you. Suddenly you find you have grown in virtue and in closeness to God. All the waiting that seemed to be leading nowhere meant we were awake when Jesus showed up at our door.

So we want to remain in a state of grace in case Jesus comes back or in case we die unexpectedly. But there are many more encounters with the divine that we will be spiritually awake for besides that. That is what heaven is. Choosing God over the things of this world. God is full of surprises if we are paying attention. He wants us to be ready not just to be assured of heaven but to remain open to that heavenly holiness during our time on earth.

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