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Saturday, November 27, 2010



(Recorded in Australian Catholic Radio Online)

The first Sunday of Advent  opens the new liturgical calendar of the Church.   We could even say that today is the new year in the Church.  The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means the coming of an important person or an event.  In the Christian world, Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus.
There are three ways of Jesus’ coming namely: the first Christmas which happened 2,000 years ago, secondly the Parousia which is the end of time and thirdly the coming of Jesus in between the first Christmas and the Parousia which happens in the Church, in the Sacraments and in our daily encounter with Him.
We also have three kinds of time that corresponds to the three comings of Jesus:  the cosmic time which corresponds to the repetition of events like day and night or the four seasons of fall, winter, spring and summer which come back every year.  That is why we celebrate Christmas year after year. Next is the historical or chronological time which is  measured by years, months, days, hours, seconds which are unrepeatable.  Lastly the kairos which is a blessed time or a time of grace.
If we understand this background on time, what do we prepare then during Advent?   Some are preparing for Christmas, that is why we decorate our homes with Christmas trees, lanterns and other stuff that remind us of the joy of the season.  But the season of Advent is more than preparing for December 25th which is a cosmic time.  More than all our preparations for Christmas, the Church reminds us to prepare for the Parousia.  This is the reason why these past three Sundays we have been reading the Apocalyptic readings most especially in our gospels. 
Last Sunday we read the apocalyptic gospel of St. Luke about the end of the world.  In our gospel today, we read the apocalyptic account by St. Matthew.   Apocalyptic literature has lots of imageries which were used both by the Old Testament and New Testament writers to strengthen the hearts of believers during a very difficult time, most especially during persecution where they suffered because of their faith.  As a “resistance literature” it encouraged believers to hold on to their faith because that was the time of God renewing history through His powerful presence.  Oftentimes, this event is preceded by suffering and pain by most believers. 
Our gospel today relates the flood during the time of Noah which was a way of renewing the earth; it was God’s way of cleansing the world in preparation for the beginning of a new humanity.   No one was prepared except Noah and his family.  Parousia is likened to that event.  The Church is like Noah’s ark.  She gives us opportunities to prepare for the coming of the New Beginning.  During the time of Noah, the people did not care and they might be laughing at Noah and his family for  building such huge ark, until the flood came and wipe them away.
Let us take a look at Kairos which is a blessed time or a time of grace.   When God enters into our time and we into the time of God, that moment of our encounter with God is a Kairos.  This happens when we gather together as a Church and celebrate our faith together as a people.  When we hear God’s Word.  It is Kairos.  When we participate in the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection in the Holy Communion.  It is Kairos!  When after the Eucharist, we become witnesses of our faith to the world.  It is Kairos!
St. Matthew reminds his community and all of us to be always ALERT and WATCHFUL!  This is not to instill fear but a sense of vigilance and preparedness.  The Kairos we are experiencing now is just but a preparation for the historical time when everything will have to pass away to give way for the birthing of the New Heaven and New Earth where the justice of God will reign.

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