again. This is our reminder that, no matter what is happening in the world, the come a day when Christ will return so that the Father will put all things under his authority. While those who have no faith may think they rule today, tomorrow belongs to Christ. God does have the last word and will bring everything into proper order.
His second coming also means a coming judgment, with regard to our faith in Jesus Christ.
The older I get and the crazier the world seems to become, the more I think about His coming, about our hope in Him, the final resurrection of the body and life in the world to come. What you see now is not all there is in the Christian life. Thankfully.
We live under the brilliance of a great hope for all eternity. It would be one thing if we were only given a better life here on earth and then - nothing. How hopeless.
We have faith to invest in our life here on earth; but we also possess hope as an anchor for the future; it is called our blessed hope, which is His Second Coming.
The Apostle Paul talks about this in his letter to the Romans, where he declares, "And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
"Let us then throw off the works of darkness (and) put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and licentiousness, not in rivalry and jealousy. But let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh."
His second coming also gives me encouragement to continue working on His behalf. Not only do I want to be ready for his coming, I want others to join me. I am so deeply grateful this year for the privilege of celebrating at the altar as a priest of His Church! To stand, in persona Christi, and offer the greatest gift of all for the salvation of the whole world.
The work we all do in preparing people for His coming(s) is the work of Evangelization. We are telling people the Good News in stereo - He came that we might have life through His grace. He also is coming again in Glory! he comes every day to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to receive. There is a future victory that awaits all of us who believe.
In Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter, "At the Beginning of the Third Millennium," he reminds faithful Catholics of the Lord's challenge to the Apostle Peter, "Duc in Altum," or "put out into the deep." This instruction came after Jesus had used Peter's boat to teach those on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. When he had finished his instruction, our Lord had the fishermen put out to the deep where they caught a great number of fish.
In this life we are called to "put out into the deep" of our world on behalf of Christ that those of every family, tribe, and nation will hear the Good News of Jesus Christ. As John Paul II stated, "Christ must be presented to all people with confidence. We shall address adults, families, young people, children, without ever hiding the most radical demands of the Gospel message, but taking into account each person's needs in regard to their sensitivity and language, after the example of Paul who declared: 'I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Cor 9:22).'"
At the conclusion of his Apostolic Letter, the Holy Father declared, "Now, the Christ whom we have contemplated and loved bids us to set out once more on our journey: 'Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' (Mt 28:19). The missionary mandate accompanies us into the Third Millennium and urges us to share the enthusiasm of the very first Christians: we can count on the power of the same Spirit who was poured out at Pentecost and who impels us still today to start out anew, sustained by the hope "which does not disappoint" (Rom 5:5)
In Advent, we remember that we are living in the interval between the already - that Christ has come - and the not-yet - that He will come again. This is the period in history where He is calling His Church to Evangelization. We begin with ourselves, reflecting on our own life in Christ. We also think of the future hope that belongs to all who are in Christ and those yet who will come to Him.
Many years ago, I knew a very wealthy successful businessman in Grand Rapids, Michigan who owned a chain of Chicken restaurants. He had a deep faith in Christ, which leaked into every area of his life. The following words were printed on the top of every bag of chicken that left one of his stores, "Only One Life Twill Soon Be Passed, Only What's Done for Christ Will Last."
This Advent is a wonderful opportunity to review those lasting things in our lives. Advent is a time for cleaning house, for digging into the the storhouse of living faith to prepare ourselves for His coming so that we - and the world - will be ready for His coming(s).
Father Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online and a priest with the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (http://usordinariate.org/) established by the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, through the Apostolic Constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus."
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Advent, First Sunday of Advent, prepare, maranatha, repentance, penance, duc in altum, Ordinariate, Fr Randy Sly
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