Dear Brothers and Sisters,

When will Jesus return?

The Gospel today gives us no particular date, but reminds us that we must be ready at all times. What does it mean to be ready? The second reading today gives us these words from Saint Paul: you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God. Saint Paul asks that we may increase and abound in love for one another and for all. To be ready for the coming of the Lord is to seek to love more. The day is coming! We don’t know when. The Prophet Jeremiah in the first reading today is calling us to be aware of the promises of God. The Prophet is not trying to scare us, but to console us. God does what God has promised.

For the Prophet Jeremiah, that promise includes raising up a just shoot for David, one who will do what is right and just in the land. The day is coming! The day has come! Jesus appeared in our land, took on our flesh and died for us—and rose from the dead so that we might have life. We live today embracing that mystery and knowing that our personal lives will end and that our world will also end.

7158518The Prophet and Saint Paul and the Gospel today from Saint Luke are not trying to scare us. These inspired writings are seeking to draw us deeper into this mystery of faith that will bring us joy and delight in this life and life with Christ forever in the world to come. Advent is about the coming of Jesus. Jesus comes into our world. Jesus comes into our personal lives. Jesus will come again at the end of our world. If we are not trying to love others because we have been loved, then we have not yet encountered the mystery of Jesus. We can encounter that mystery each day by trying to love others because we believe in Jesus. We can encounter that mystery each day in our Scriptures—but they must push us to love.

We can encounter that mystery every day in the Mass and we can encounter that mystery every day in the mystery of the poor and downtrodden. What does it take? A heart open to a mystery of God’s presence, a heart open to realize that there is more to life than just what we touch and feel. We want to hear Jesus as He speaks to our hearts and invites us to know the world from His vision and His love. Advent! Christ has already come in our world! May Christ be in our hearts! May we always be ready for Him to come again.

This whole Advent we can long for the Lord, long for His presence in our lives and long for him to transform us. This longing is expressed in how we live. Come, Lord Jesus! Help us love one another and all others.

Father Jesus