The Meaning of Advent

The season of Advent, which begins today, is not only a preparation for the birthday of Our Lord on Christmas, but it also reminds us of the presence of Jesus in our lives today and of His glorious return at the end of time.

The first time Jesus came to earth, some 2,000 years ago, He appeared quietly in a stable in Bethlehem, a remote village in a far corner of the Roman Empire. Only angels, shepherds, and three Wise Men recognized His coming, and He was virtually unknown until He began His public life around the age of 30.

That He is so widely known today is proof of His divine identity. Hundreds of millions worship Him at Mass every week, and they experience His second coming in the Holy Eucharist. Jesus provides us with this share in His divine life to strengthen us on the journey to Heaven, our Promised Land.

The next time Jesus comes to earth, it will not be quietly, but with angels and trumpets blaring. All the world will know that He has returned, and no one will be able to ignore Him, as so many do today.

So Advent is a time to celebrate the birthday of Our Lord, to repent of our sins so that we receive Him worthily in Holy Communion, and to make sure that we are prepared for His Second Coming, whenever that will be.

That preparation should include more prayer, more time at Mass and before the Blessed Sacrament, and more time reaching out to those in need during this holy season.

Saint Stephen Parish  - Framingham Massachusetts