The challenge between coming and arrival — essentially and significantly, or even otherwise — is preparation.
In fact, when it comes to a particular keenness in preparations — and not to exaggerate — the Filipino psyche always emerges incomparable.
Sometimes, it even comes in handy as a caricature. For example, the air of Christmas has already been around since a few months ago.
And now, that is an exaggeration!
As we enter and begin the Season of Advent today, we are once more — as has been constantly done with love — reminded of the Lord’s Coming.
But while He has already come and dwelt amongst us (this is the first meaning of Advent), He has promised to return.
This was and continues to be “the” linking truth revealed to all believers — and to us — when He ascended back to Heaven (cf. Acts 1:11; also Luke 21:27 in today’s gospel reading).
So while we put on a significant slant to Advent as we do immediate preparations for Christmas, let us not forget that there is an even more weighty raison d’être for Advent.
Focusing, therefore, on the second dimension of Advent — that of the Lord’s Second Coming when He judges all of us — may we not miss the whole essence of what we really are preparing for.
Even in the very guise of making anything pleasant to behold, may an ever more internal and integral sense of preparation make a worthwhile perspective.
Let this excerpt from St. Cyril of Jerusalem’s catechetical instruction [Cat. 15,1-3: PG 33, 870-874], then, be a handy reminder as we continue our Faith-life’s journey “whether convenient or inconvenient” (2 Timothy 4:2), in season or out of season:
“We do not preach only of one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom. “At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross,
despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels. We look then beyond the first coming and await the second… “The Savior will not come to be judged again, but to judge
those by whom he was judged…”
So, full of hope we face the promise with eagerness and expectation, courage and resolve, carefully living even in the midst of threatening events and the endless challenges we experience and encounter in the here and now.
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