Jakarta, 2 December 2018
A Christian Pilgrim
Today’s Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:42-51 – TWENTY-FIRST WEEK OF THE YEAR: Thursday, 30 August 2018
The real function of the second coming is found in Jesus words in today’s Gospel reading. It gives us perspective. Realization that the Master will return for a strict accounting enables us, both as a parish and as individuals, to separate the trivial from the important.
The Lord’s second coming reminds us that the Church is an interim instrument. Everything of her – dioceses, parishes, liturgy committees, personnel boards, finance committees, diocesan offices – are all intended to glorify the Lord Jesus. In the final analysis, our manner of dealing with one another is the ultimate sign of faith that we can offer the world. If the law of the jungle pervades a diocese, then why should the world listen?
The test which places things in perspective is whether our parish membership helps us to love God and our neighbor – or not.
Jakarta, 30 August 2018
A Christian Pilgrim
THE COMING OF THE SON OF MAN IN GLORY
(A biblical reflection on the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT [Year C] – 29 November 2015)
Gospel Reading: Luke 21:25-28,34-36
First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalms: Psalm 25:4-5,8-10,14; Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
“But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21:25-28,34-36 RSV)
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men, as we do to you” (1 Thessalonians 3:12 RSV).
St. Luke portrayed vividly the coming of the Son of Man in glory. Even though he alluded to the terror that will be in people’s hearts at that time, Luke focused more on the majestic coming of the Son of Man (Luk 21:25-26,27). In what context are we to understand Luke’s reflections on the second coming as we begin Advent?
Even though Advent prepares us to celebrate the first coming of Christ, our attention is directed to the second coming. This is appropriate because we need to be aware of the destiny that awaits us with the second coming of Christ if we are to celebrate properly His first coming.
Whether we accept it or not, Christ’s coming in glory confronts our lives. By considering it in the coming days, we can avoid making Advent and Christmas mere exercises of sentimentality. Hopefully, we can allow the word of God in scripture to challenge and reform our lives. During this season of Advent we will encounter many men and women whose words and lives should cause us to reflect upon ourselves and our manner of living.
On this First Sunday of Advent, for example, we are helped by the words we hear to put the passage from Luke in proper perspective. Jeremiah said that in the time of Messiah Judah would be safe and Jerusalem secure and known as “the Lord our justice” because God would be present there (Jeremiah 33:16). We will be ready to meet the Lord when He comes as we embrace the prayer of the psalmist that the Lord, who is our justice, guide us in His truth and teach us that we might be just (Psalm 25:4-5,8-9). Moreover, we can pray with St. Paul that the Lord would strengthen us, make our hearts overflow with love for one another, and make us blameless and holy before God (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).
In these ways, our hearts will be changed and we will be able to live in love and justice with each other as God so eagerly desires. Then we will be ready to meet Jesus in His second coming. We will also be able to celebrate His first coming in a way that is open to the transformed life that He came to give us.
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me prepare for the coming of Your Son. I want to accept the grace that He won for me. During this season of expectation, fill my heart with Your love and my mind with Your truth. Amen.
Jakarta, 27 November 2015
A Christian Pilgrim