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This Weekend's Gospel Meditation

Nov 30, 2018

ENCOURAGE DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE
December 02, 2018 - First Sunday in Advent

Tribulation. Wildfires. Tsunamis. Moral corruption. Disease. War. We tend to associate these things with the end times, and perhaps for good reason! In today's Gospel, Jesus says: "People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world." Not exactly putting us in the Christmas spirit, is it? During Advent, we anticipate a celebration of Christ's first coming. There is a quiet stillness about our waiting, or at least we try to encourage that in ourselves. Perhaps we have an Advent devotional or we take time to pray together as a family around the Advent wreath.

But Jesus did not come only once into history. During Advent, we remember that he will come again. You may remember the rapture craze in the early 2000s, when a series of books and movies envisioned a future where Jesus was coming soon and all the true believers had been whisked away. Everyone else had one more chance to repent before things really went to hell...literally, in this case!

But is that what Jesus is talking about here? The truth is, we don't know what Jesus' Second Coming will be like. The actual return of Christ - though sudden and perhaps frightening to some - should not frighten us. Despite all the stories we may have heard about the apocalypse, the advice of Jesus is not to hang our heads or cower in fear. "Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand." In a certain sense, we are already living in the end times. We already encounter great tribulation. We all find it easy to get distracted or discouraged in the grind of daily life. Today's Gospel reminds us that vigilance for God's presence is needed now.

Courtesy of Liturgical Publications

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