Be Alert While Waiting for Christ in Faith

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Advent Week, 1 December 2019
Isa. 2:1-5; Ps. 122:1-2,4-5,6-7,8-9; Rom. 13:11-14a; Mat. 24:37-44

Every year (A, B and C) the Gospel reading of the first Advent Sunday is always apocalyptic: related to the second coming of the Lord (parousia). Hence, the Church associates the first coming of Jesus (which we celebrate on Christmas day) with His second coming. The past and future are united in faith in Him, the Alpha and Omega. Remembrance and hope merge together in our faith. Our preparation to welcome the birth of Christ on Christmas day gets a deeper meaning. Not only the annual routine before 25 December but also touches the deepest conviction: The Lord will definitely come any time, although we don’t know when!

Using three illustrations, Matthew talks about Jesus, His coming and the preparation that should be made by His disciples. In theological term this text speaks about: Christology, eschatology and ecclesiology. First, this text is about Jesus as the Son of Man who will come to judge people. The illustration from the days of Noah is used (v. 37-39), but the emphasis is not mainly on human’s depravity (as in the original story: Gen. 6-7 or 2 Pet. 2:5), but on the unexpected time of God’s judgment. Humans live a common and normal rhythm of life: eating, drinking and marrying. The unexpected of God’s trial takes place in the history and human’s common and normal rhythm of life. So it will happen on the coming of the Son of Man. He will come on an unexpected moment, in the midst of common and normal life and history.

Second, the final judgment entirely depends on the decision of the Son of Man. The faithful disciples involve and live the same life as other people in this world. All seems the same, as two men working on the same field or two women working in the same house. One is taken away, another one is left behind. The Lord knows whom He will choose to be saved. He who knows the heart, intention and mind will definitely know how to sort and separate His true followers from the hypocrites and those who are just “display”.

Third, the unexpected coming of the Lord makes His church must always be alert and ready. A life of faith is a life of hope. Christian hope is not an attitude of passively waiting, not even busily counting days and predicting the end of the world. Christian hope is a life of being always highly alert! Not because of anxiety and fear, but because we believe the Lord will come again to justify the people He loves. Matthew was presenting the concrete content of the life of hope in following parable, for example: by serving other’s need (v. 24:45, 25:40). In this passage Matthew send a common message: do not live apathetically and carelessly, like a man who is not ready and alert that his house is easily broken into by thief (v. 43). Live this life as well and as fully as possible, as if this is your last day. That is the real sign that you and I are ready to welcome Him!

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:

The future of the youth: May every country resolve to determine and take the necessary steps to put ahead and guarantee the future of the youth, especially those who suffer and despair. We pray…

For Indonesian Churches intention:

Marriage Fidelity: May the fidelity to marriage pledge will not fade because of trivial matters in daily life which often trigger a dispute in the family. We pray…

Special Intention:

May the people in our Diocese welcome the wisdom of Holy Spirit to take an important role in building the wisdom of peace and perseverance in family in their home or in their place of service. We pray

Amen

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