This week everything ramped up: My work, family, tasks, chores, events, and traffic. O My! The traffic!
I noticed the traffic last Monday. “Season is here,” I muttered to myself on the way to work. Then as the week the unfolded, I noticed the intensity began increasing at an alarming rate. By the end of the week the rush was on. Getting the deadlines met! Shopping! One prince laid off! One prince going back to school! Dad’s interment! Groceries! Gifts! Holiday Party! Oh no don’t call it that! It’s a Meeting! Horns blaring! Screeching tires!
It seemed everything I encountered ended in an exclamation point. Yesterday I sat in church waiting for the Mass to begin. I wondered why almost every street I drove on I heard a horn blare. Stopping at a major intersection on Saturday, I waited for the light. Several horns began blowing. It seemed like the horns were all around me. The cacophony hurt my head. In frustration I said, “What do ya think this is! New York City! Patience People!”
Here I sat on the first Sunday of Advent. It was time to breathe and focus on God rather than activity. I enjoyed the service. When I left the church, climbing into my car I thought of new things I had learned about Advent. I was a little shocked. Why is it when we sit through the same seasons for decades we assume we’ve heard it all before. It’s like saying to God, “I got this!” I think God just chuckles back and says “You think so? Well let me show you something…”
The Gospel was Luke 21:25-28 and 34-36. These are part of the passages where Jesus teaches in Jerusalem about signs of the end. Two verses caught my attention:
Luke 21:34-35 [NABRE] “34Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise 35 like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.
Our Priest began his homily with the Gospel. He explained how we are entering Advent where we celebrate God’s gift of his son to us in the flesh. Okay I got that. Then he asked, what is this in the scriptures during Advent describing the Second Coming of the Lord? He explained that Advent focuses our thoughts on the Coming of the Lord. We prepare to celebrate and are grateful for God’s mercy in giving us salvation through only son. This was God coming to us in the flesh. It is the Coming of the Messiah. We also are taught by the scriptures to prepare ourselves for the Second Coming of the Lord. The Advent season is all about the Son of Man coming to us; to redeem us, forgive us, and bless us with His Mercy.
Hmm…I must not have been paying attention some of those years. I was focused on the first part, the birth of Christ. And of course meeting my holiday obligations. With this teaching I began to understand the scripture in a different way; when He came here the first time he secured our salvation. He brought us the words of spiritual life. In the second coming He brings us to God the Father.
Our Priest also made a statement, something to the effect of; …whether the second coming is at the end time or at our death… I don’t remember the context because I was still wrapping my head around this new to me view of Advent and the Coming of the Lord. What I caught here comforted me. I see him in my faith. The bible vividly describes a Jewish child growing to manhood but is God in the flesh. This is the first Coming of the Lord. In this statement, I could visualize meeting Jesus face to face, the second Coming of the Lord. In my mind’s eye all I could see was Jesus bringing me to God the Father.
In verse 34, Jesus reminds us to not allow our hearts to get “drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.” That last one made me catch my breath. The hustle and bustle of this silly Americanized, secularized, Floridian season is just an anxiety of daily life. My work, home, events, family, are all anxieties of daily life.
The scripture says do not allow our hearts to become drowsy. The New King James and the New International Bibles interprets the term as: “be weighed down with…” The 1599 Geneva Bible interprets the term as: “be oppressed.” What Jesus is saying here is don’t let your heart get tired, overwhelmed, or lethargic from our secular world. Be prepared for the Coming of the Son of Man.
This refocuses my season on love and God. It reminds us to enjoy the season and prepare our hearts for our Lord everyday. God Bless,
Note: There was more teaching centered around that word ‘trap’ that I want to share. But, I am running a bit long in this post. My next post this week .will have to be Part II.