First Sunday of Advent: Commit to the Kingdom!

They will beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks.  This is from the first reading this weekend from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.

At the end of World War II, the nations of the world decided that an international organization could best prevent war, and the United Nations was established.  Since that time the United Nations has not been very successful.  This is because we have fallen into the misconception that our world is capable of finding lasting peace on its own.  That cannot take place apart from the King of justice, peace and love, Jesus Christ.  The angels proclaimed that this kingdom has begun with Jesus’ first coming in Bethlehem, “Glory to God on the highest and peace to his people on earth.” But it will not be complete until His Second Coming at the end of time.

We need to be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord.  “Wake from sleep,” Paul tells the Romans.  “Stay awake,” Jesus says. We must be prepared for the Day of the Lord.  Jesus tells of the people in Noah’s day.  Many of these people weren’t ready in the days immediately before the flood.  They were too busy with their lives to be concerned about God’s will and His Way.  In fact, they were unconcerned about anything beyond living in this life. 

It is fashionable to speak about people who do not worship as being unchurched.  Well, they are unchurched because they don’t care about the existence of God or their obligation to worship Him, not just in Church but even in their daily lives. 

Don’t get caught napping,” the Gospel says. The Lord will come to complete His restoration of God’s plan.  How will He find us?  What will He find me doing when I least expect His arrival?  What will He find you doing?  Hopefully, He will find us being concerned about living in such a way as to help spread the goodness of His Kingdom. 

Every act of kindness and love, every sacrifice we make for others, is a small step in the transformation of the world spreading the Good News of God’s Kingdom. Conversely, every act of hatred, every act of selfishness, strengthens the power of evil that is destroying our world.  The battle for the Lord is not something that will take place many years from now.  It is a battle that we ought to be engaged in right now and right here.  We need to commit.

We are not Christians because we say so.  We are not Christians because we have been baptized.  We are Christians because we imitate Jesus and strive to make His ways, our ways. We are Christians because we are open to being transformed daily into the image and likeness of Jesus by our words and actions.  We are Christians because we are committed to the practice of our Catholic Faith.

Christianity is a lifestyle of transformation. We have been called to take our part in the transformation of the world.  Advent is a time of preparation and expectation.  We are told, “Stay awake, be prepared,” for the Son of Man is coming; and there is an expectation by Jesus that we too participate and share in His ultimate victory.

Fr. Tom