Advent Reflection #3, 2016

advent-series-image-2016

Matthew 24:36-44
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”

The thrust of this passage is so clear: keep awake; be ready, for Jesus will return at an unexpected time. Why, then, have so many Modern Christians placed undue focus on the concept of one being taken and one left? Who will be taken? Who will be left? If we think of the Ark, for example, it was the faithful that were left, and not the unfaithful. What if it is the unfaithful that are “raptured” and not the faithful? Why would Jesus be returning if only to leave again? Without going too much further into this, let’s simply step back and see that the general theme of the passage is one of waiting with urgency, and not complacency. The women in question are grinding meal. They are working to ensure that people – their families, most likely – will have the food necessary for survival. In the corresponding passage from Luke’s Gospel two men are working in the fields. Again, they are being productive rather than idle. Advent’s theme of waiting and expectation is anything but complacent and passive. Instead, the thrust is an active, engaged-in-the-world, preparation for Jesus’s return. As we wait, therefore, to celebrate anew the birth of our Savior, and as we wait to receive His return, we are to be active. We are to actively do the things necessary to care and provide for others. We are to continue working for Christ’s Kingdom to come on Earth as it is in Heaven, knowing that it will only be fulfilled upon His return. If we do so, I’m confident that His return will not be like an unwanted thief in the night, but rather like the long-expected return of a dear loved one. In turn, I’m confident that in actively waiting and anticipating his coming Kingdom, he will meet us not as strangers or enemies, but as friends, even family. Let us, then, keep awake and be ready, for he will return. Let us, then, keep awake and be ready, for the newness that he will continue to work in and through the celebration of the glorious Incarnation of our Lord.

Pray with your hands today. Do something to care for others, for your children, your spouse, your neighbors, your co-workers. Go to work in the fields, grind meal, contribute to the health and well-being of others in the name of Jesus.

 

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