Most people already know that Advent is a season of preparation for celebrating the birth of Christ at Christmas. What’s not as well known, though, is that Advent has a double meaning: it’s also a season for preparing for the apocalypse.
The End of the Present Age
Yes, Catholics believe there will be an apocalypse. The End Times are coming. Though Jesus came the first time in peace, Jesus will come a second time in judgement and to inaugurate the end of our present world. If that sounds more like Protestant fundamentalism to you, note that Catholics reaffirm this belief every Sunday in the Nicene Creed: “He [Jesus] will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
Advent is a time of preparation for both comings: as we prepare to celebrate the first coming, we are called to prepare for the future second coming.
This is why the Gospel reading for the First Sunday of Advent was about the End Times. “As it was in the days of Noah,” Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches in the Gospel of Matthew, “so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day that Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Preppers for Christ
And we do need to be prepared. Scripture says that Jesus’ Second Coming will be a surprise. Like a “thief in the night,” Jesus will “come at an hour when you do not expect him.” As a result, Jesus warns us, “you must be prepared.” (Matthew 24)
How do we prepare? By daily committing to one of the most commons refrains of Jesus’ ministry: repentance. We must turn away from our sins and cooperate with God’s grace to grow in holiness and charity.
So let Advent be a time for us all to recommit to a holy life in Christ. Because He will return soon!
Come, Lord Jesus!
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