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Friday, December 11, 2015

If There Ever Was A Time

Another Advent reflection:

As I write this, we are nearing the third Sunday of Advent. While remembering the little town of Bethlehem, the place of the first coming of the Christ, I think it's also good to remember God’s promises regarding the second coming of the Christ.

Twenty-three of the twenty-seven New Testament books speak of Christ's Second Advent. Twenty-three of twenty-seven! Of the 260 chapters in the New Testament we will find more than more than 300 references to Christ's return!

One of my favorite texts about that promise is from St. Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonia:  "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." (4:16-17)

Christ’s return is as certain as any of God’s promises. And there is no reason to believe His return is not imminent.

But Scripture also tells us Jesus is returning for a people who are living out their baptismal faith. He is returning for a people who do more than live Sunday-only Christianity. He’s returning for a people “holy and blameless” and “without spot or wrinkle . . . .” (Ephesians 1:4; 5:27)

So as I think about the Lord’s inevitable return I like to ask myself if I am ready for Him to call me home. Yes, I’ve been baptized. Yes, I receive the Sacraments. Yes, I do my best to ‘walk the talk.” But the subtle, often unrecognizable temptations seeking to lull me into complacency are ubiquitous.

And they often occur at the most unexpected times.

No wonder the Lord warned us about the servant who turned away from living out of his baptismal faith. The man had foolishly – and perhaps impatiently – reasoned to himself: “My master is not coming for a long time.’”

Then Jesus warned, “The master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:48-51)

If ever there was a time I needed God’s grace to continue this faith journey with my hand clutched in His, it is in this time, during Advent 2015. It is at this time I remember not only the Baby in a manger, but also the Lion from the tribe of Judah who will, at His Second Advent, take us home with Himself.

Maranatha, Lord Jesus. Please come quickly.

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