With the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving, where we give thanks, eat, celebrate family then eat some more, are we truly getting ready for what we should be thankful for — the coming of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ?
We celebrate that momentous day, Christmas morning when the redeemer became one of us in the form of a beautiful baby. I think we are always ready to celebrate that day! That was more than 2,000 years ago and we as a church community have no problem celebrating the coming of the child savior! The big question, which maybe we “put on the back burner” or “out of sight out of mind,” is “are we ready for His Second coming as loving judge at the end of time?”
Father, why bring up that celebration someone might ask?
Well, I bring it up because I just finished my first pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I was in the land where Christ was born, raised in a small town called Nazareth (what good can come from city anyway, maybe the Savior of the world!), walked in his footsteps in His mission territory around the Sea of Galilee. (Sorry, it is more like a lake than a sea). You can see everything around the Sea of Galilee from the mountains that rise from the coast.
It was beautiful, but what a walk if you only wore scandals! My dogs (feet) were barking (sore) after each day’s journey!
With all that traveling by walking from Caesarea Phillipi, the most northern town to Jerusalem, climbing Mount Tabor then down into the valley of the Dead Sea (I prayed Mass below sea level), I know that Jesus would have the strength to carry His cross even after being scourged.
Like I said, it was a beautiful pilgrimage, but it did make me come to a conclusion. If I believe in all that I have seen during this pilgrimage; am I ready for that Second coming of Our Lord?
This pilgrimage has helped me look at Advent in a different light. We need to look at Our Lord’s Second Coming as a celebration, too!
Why, Father, the end of time? No, the beginning of our eternal life with the Glorified God, Jesus, that we have yearned to see since He was born, died for us, and was raised and glorified by a loving Father.
We yearn to see God because that is the way God created us. If we believe that we were created in the image and likeness of God then by believing in God’s Grace, we want to return to the God that loved us first!
To be ready for Jesus’ Second coming, we need be the disciples that Jesus develops from a simple group of fishermen, tax collectors, builders whoever chose to believe in this Son of God. We need to celebrate and love being a disciple because Jesus loved being one of us for a mere 33 years on earth.
As a disciple, we have nothing to fear and everything to celebrate in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. As Our Lord said, “The Kingdom of God is at Hand, Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
Stay awake, be ready for His coming whenever may be and celebrate it because you are trying by God’s Grace to be Jesus’ disciple. Keep walking with Jesus as I walked in His footsteps in the Holy Land. Have a fruitful Advent, celebrate Christmas and His Second Coming!
God bless you all.
Fr. David Sabel pastors for the Catholic Diocese of Peoria at Sts. Peter and Paul in Chatsworth, St. Joseph in Chenoa, St. Joseph in Flanagan and St. Mary in Lexington
This article originally appeared on Pontiac Daily Leader: Pastoral Perspective: Advent Season: Are you ready for His coming?