March 22, 2018, 4:09 am
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Preparing for the Lord’s coming

JESUS said to his disciples: “As it was in the days of Noah, 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. 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. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”


What comes into your mind the moment you wake up from sleep? For sure, you will immediately think of the day’s activities. I don’t think you will ever say: “I think I shall die today. I guess today is the last day of my life,” because you see, we show little or even no concern about the end of time. What matters for us is the present and not what lies at the end, isn’t it? 

However, our Liturgy this Sunday reminds us that everything has an end. 

In our First Reading, the prophet Isaiah prophesized that days will come when “the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised about the hills.” And in our Gospel, Jesus reminds us that the last day when the
Lord will come is something unpredictable. It is like the coming of a thief at night in the house of the master. Since the coming of the Lord at the end of our lives is something unpredictable, Jesus reminds us to “stay awake… for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

So how do we prepare for the future coming of the Lord? 

St. Paul in our Second Reading clearly gives us the answer when he said, “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 lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.” 

My dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, to prepare for the coming of Christ therefore is to live the present by putting on the garment of the Lord and setting aside the old garment of misery and sin. Yes, every day of our lives, we do not need to think of the end. What we have to simply do is to live everyday of our lives according to the demands of Christian discipleship. We remind ourselves of the words of St. Therese of the Child Jesus when she said, “I will spend heaven by doing good on earth.” 

In the here and now of our lives, let us already build heaven here on earth by doing what the Lord requires of us, “only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic 6: 8). By doing so, when the Lord will come, we do not end in fear and trembling. Rather, together with our Psalmist today, we sing, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” 

Today, our Church begins another liturgical calendar with the First Sunday of Advent. This season of Advent is not just about preparing for Christmas Day when the Lord was born in Bethlehem. Rather, Advent also reminds us of the return of the Lord in glory. And so, let this new season in our Church be also our start of renewing our fidelity to the Lord, “to know him more clearly, to love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day” (St. Richard of Chichester). 


– Abp. Jose S. Palma, D.D. Archbishop of Cebu

– (Nov. 27, 2016)
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