“READY TO GREET HIM WHEN HE COMES”
“You must be prepared in the same way. The Son of Man is coming at the time you least expect.” —Matthew 24:44
Happy Advent! Advent is about the three comings of Christ:
1) Jesus first came to earth as a Baby, humble and lowly, at Bethlehem (Lk 2:4ff).
3) The third coming of Jesus is the coming of the Eucharistic Jesus into our souls today. Jesus’ coming in Holy Communion is a humble coming, just as He came humbly to earth in Bethlehem. His Eucharistic coming is as easy to miss as was His coming at Bethlehem.
How prepared are we to meet the Eucharistic Jesus when He comes to us today? If we’re prepared for this “third” coming, we’ll welcome His first coming at Christmas and be prepared for His Second Coming.
Therefore, on this first day of the new Church Year, this day of new beginning, invite Jesus to come and reign in your life. “Seek first His kingship over you” (Mt 6:33). Be “sober and alert” (1 Pt 5:8), ever ready to greet Him when He comes. Live so that Jesus may never have to ask: “Why was no one there when I came?” (Is 50:2)
THE CRUCIFIX AND THE KING
“There was an inscription over His head:
‘THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.’ ” —Luke 23:38
Many people have crucifixes on their walls, in their pockets, in their purses, or around their necks. Usually at the top of this crucifix are the letters I. N. R. I. This stands for “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” On Calvary, hardly anyone believed this inscription. In fact, “the chief priests of the Jews tried to tell Pilate…‘This man claimed to be King of the Jews’ ” (Jn 19:21).
What about you? Do you believe the letters on your crucifix? Or are the letters I.N.R.I. just an inscription to which you’ve never paid any attention? If you decide to take your crucifix seriously and be a faithful subject of King Jesus, you must:
- be rescued “from the power of darkness” (Col 1:13),
- contradict leaders, soldiers, criminals, and the many people who continue to mock His kingship (Lk 23:35, 36, 39),
- be willing to be persecuted,
- worship King Jesus, for He is the King of kings (Rv 19:16) and God Himself, and
- tell everyone about the perfect King, Who is God and Love (see 1 Jn 4:16).
Are you willing to accept Jesus as your King? If so, kneel down before Him now and give Your most precious gifts to Him (see Mt 2:11). Give your whole life to King Jesus. Start talking to Jesus. Ask Him to show you Who He is. Begin to repent. Keep talking to Jesus until you can again honestly see or carry a crucifix not out of habit but out of love.
“The King of the world will raise us up
to live again forever.”—2 Maccabees 7:9
Both today’s first reading and the Gospel deal with life after death. Both show that we humans have no idea of what risen life will be like. In today’s Gospel, the Sadducees demonstrate this by their misguided assumptions. They were “badly misled” and failed “to understand the Scriptures or the power of God” (Mk 12:24).
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is an historical fact. It is not merely an idea. Throughout the centuries after Jesus rose from the dead, people have given their lives in martyrdom to defend the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection. Numerous martyrs “were tortured and would not receive deliverance, in order to obtain a better resurrection” (Heb 11:35).
The key to life is to have an encounter with the risen Jesus. After we have met the risen Christ, we become “a new creation. The old order has passed away; now all is new” (2 Cor 5:17). Even in this earthly life, our lifestyle changes completely as we see everything through the perspective of the kingdom of God rather than with the eyes of the world (see Mt 6:19-34).
Since Jesus has risen, we who are baptized into Christ can share even now in this risen life (Col 1:10-13). Our life is hidden in Christ (Col 3:3). We are citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20) while living on this earth. Accept the risen Jesus as your Lord.
“The Son of Man has come to search out
and save what was lost.” —Luke 19:10
Although God is omnipotent and almighty, He rebukes us gently, little by little, so that we may be able to bear it and be encouraged by His mercy to grow in faith, obedience, and holiness.
Thus, Jesus stayed with sinners. He came to seek and save sinners (Lk 19:10). Even at the end of His life, Jesus was crucified between two sinners (Lk 23:33). He was made to be sin, as it were, for those who need salvation from sin (2 Cor 5:21). Sinners at least are in the position to eventually know they need Jesus (see Lk 18:9ff). Self-righteous people don’t think they need Jesus. They are in danger of becoming, in effect, their own gods and not realizing they are in need of a Savior.
We need to realize that we cannot save ourselves (Ps 49:8; Is 26:18). We are less than “a drop of morning dew” (Wis 11:22). Once we know that our salvation is in God and in Him alone, we then know that we cannot stand before God on our own. God is far greater than the universe, and we are so small before Him. We need a Savior. The Good News is that we have a Savior! (Acts 4:12) Accept Jesus, “the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42).