is Jesus telling us that Advent is supposed to be an anxious time for all of
My friends, the Advent season message is always so clear: We must be
prepared; and be ready; for the Lord is coming, and we need to have our hearts in order to receive Him.
There is a very sobering element in Jesus' words today (Matthew 24:37-44) . He warns us that in all of life's situations, when the Lord comes "one will be taken and one will be left." In which group will you and I, and our loved ones, be found? More to the point, why did Jesus make this statement? It is far too important to joke about it or to take it lightly.
St. Matthew is correct in emphasising in his gospel the suddenness or unexpectedness of the second coming of Jesus, because that is the way it will be – just as Jesus said! So the images or parallel to a thief coming in the night, or with the suddenness of the flood during Noah's time, are very appropriate. As that story in the Book of Genesis tells us, Noah was a righteous man and walked faithfully with God (Genesis 6:9) , so when the unexpected flood or deluge came, he was the only who had prepared well enough to survive with his family. And survive he did.
The evangelist is definitely not trying to make us anxious and fearful. Instead, he is emphasising that we simply need to "live out" our Christianity. Our responsibility from our baptism is to continue the mission of Jesus, spreading the Good News that redemption he was won for us, out of his tremendous love for us by his death on the cross. Now He wants us to live out the requirements of the gospel. This is most simply done by passing on this love of Jesus-which is in our hearts to everyone we meet, without exception. If we are the living Good News, we have no cause to be fearful at any time. Advent is a joyful time!
KNOW YOUR CATECHISM!
As our Advent hymn "Joy to the World," says, "Let every heart prepare Him room." This is what Advent is all about, preparing our hearts to receive Jesus. As article (CCC 673) reminds us that since the Ascension, Christ’s coming in glory has been imminent, but as Jesus taught us, "it is not for you to know times or seasons" (Mark 13:32). Nevertheless, the final coming could be accomplished at any moment and we must stand ready and prepared for that moment.
- “CCC” stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church: http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc2.htm.