We begin the New Year of the Church. The Gospel this year (A) will usually be from the Gospel of Matthew.
The new year begins where the old one finished - the Coming of Christ at the end of time. The theme is to "Stay Awake." Advent is a time to prepare for the Coming of the Saviour, but clearly this event will be overshadowed from the beginning by the Cross. One cannot be celebrated without the other.
Again, the apocalyptic accounts in the Gospels talk in the present tense of events, present and future and past. There is a reference to the destruction of the Temple, to the End Times and to the present moment. They appear in a Code that is known to the Christian readers. (Called Apocalyptic writing.) The readers know already about suffering and persecution and the destruction of the Temple, but this destruction and death will lead to glory and eternal life.
Jesus remarks that what happened in Noah's day will happen again. One taken, one left. Ordinary events like eating and drinking and marrying suddenly have turned to disaster when the Flood came. It will be like that when the Son of Man comes. One will be taken; one will be left.
"Son of Man." This is a term that Jesus uses to describe himself. It is taken from the Book of Daniel. I mentioned in this article that the early Christians understood the code of Apocalyptic literature. They knew their Bible. The simple message is to stay awake, to be on guard, to be watchful and ready for the coming of the Lord. Tough times are coming but so is our Saviour.
"Therefore, you must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
The four Sundays of Advent put before us the message of the ancient Prophets in week one, John the Baptist in weeks two and three and Mary in week four. We are then ready for Christmas!