Today we begin the first Sunday of Advent. There are two themes that keep being repeated during this season: we need to be ready for Jesus’ return or our own death. Both are going to happen but we do not know when. Is Jesus mean because he does not give us a heads-up on our death date or his second coming? Jesus just tells us to be ready. If you are not ready then you will be in a difficult situation. Jesus is warning us to follow his commands.

I can remember when my parents warned my brother and me about our behavior. If we did not behave, my brother and I had to pay the consequences. One time my family went down to Florida to visit my dad’s aunt. My parents warned my brother and me that if we did not behave in front of my dad’s aunt and uncle, my parents would shave our heads. That made me sit up and take notice.

Jesus says today, “Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Jesus is telling us or warning us that he will judge us according to our Christian walk. We need to be ready. I know that some Christian churches believe the “Left behind series.” That God takes his chosen people up to heaven and the rest are left behind on earth to suffer. This is called the rapture. They believe this will happen at Jesus’ second coming. As Catholics we believe the opposite, we want to be left behind. Catholics do not believe in the rapture. Catholics believe when Jesus comes again heaven will be connected to earth. Those who are left behind on earth will experience this peace.”

Allow this Advent season to prepare you for Jesus’ second coming or your own death. Take time to read the Gospels, pray the rosary and the Precious Blood chaplet. Don’t take it too easy; put yourself out there to serve others. You will not regret being proactive in prayer and service. God bless you all.

 

To view the full scripture reading, click here.

 

Fr. Tony Fortman, C.PP.S., is the pastor of St. John the Baptist Parish in Glandorf, Ohio