It is important for the Christian imagination to think at times about what the world would be like without Jesus. The Season of Advent invites us to keep in our hearts that time before the Coming of the Lord in His profound love in the Incarnation. We are called in today’s liturgy to feel deeply the desire for Jesus to come to us.
In the epistle, St. Paul urges us to cast off the deeds of darkness and to put on the armor of light. He is teaching us that, up until now, we have very much been living as if Jesus had not yet come to our souls. In our sins, we have lived in the darkness that is separate from the Light of Christ. When Jesus comes to our souls by grace – and it is this coming of the Lord for which we long daily – He shines His saving Light into every part of our soul and He fills us with the joy of possessing Him in divine love.
And the gospel, we are invited to desire and to look for the Lord’s Second Coming at the end of time. Thus, we see already on the First Sunday of Advent that this holy season celebrates and deepens our desire for three advents of Christ: His advent in the humble manger of Bethlehem, His advent into our souls by grace, and His advent in Kingly glory at the consummation of the world.
We pray during this season for an increase in the theological virtue of hope, whereby we desire from the depths of our soul all three advents of Christ. This holy desire will be fulfilled finally when we enter into His Glory and Joy in the Beatific Vision of Heaven. Today we arise from the drowsiness of chasing after joys apart from Him and awaken to the dazzling Light of the pure Joy of pleasing our Beloved, Who is coming to us, His Bride. Advent is the springtime of the Church. Today the Church is young. May she rejoice in Christ in each one of our hearts!
Fr. Joseph Previtali