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Theology for the common man

1 Sunday of Advent B

Sunday, November 29, 2020

The theme of the wake to the coming of the Lord dominates the whole liturgical season of Advent we begin this Sunday. The Gospel today quotes the words that Jesus teaches his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come”. Jesus compares this watching to a wealthy man, who left his home and placed his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch, because he could come back any time: “whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning”. In other words, the Lord could come in any hour they do not expect. The best way of preparation for this coming should be a good, Christian life each day that we could be “irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christs”. Advent is exactly the season which reminds us of this, according to its Latin origin verb “adventus”, which means “coming” (of the Lord). Tradition through the ages supported by the Holy Scriptures and teaching of the fathers of the Church, speaks about three genres (types) of Advent:

1. Historical, expressed in the Old Testament. It’s about the expectations for the coming of the Messiah, who is to save the people from their sins; the theme is touched in today’s first reading which encourage the sinner to trust in the saving plan of God - “Redeemer”.

2. Liturgical, present in the liturgy that reveals the saving power of God on us. What was fulfilled in the history of Israel is Jesus Christ, Son of God - Redeemer, who was born and died on the cross for human sins, now it becomes real to us in liturgy and sacraments. This is why it is so important for our participation in the liturgy of the Church, because it makes us accessible to the salvation in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. The Advent season is exactly a time which has to awake us from the lethargy of our conformity to the watching of the Lord who is coming in the liturgy of Christmas and to not overlook Him in our lives.

3. Eschatological (word “eschaton” comes from Greek meaning “eternity”) expressed in the second coming of Jesus at the end of the world (called from Greek “Parousia”). Then, at the end of the world it will start a universal governance of God in Jesus Christ according to our participation in His grace and good works during our lifetime.

In this Advent season, those three meanings come together every year reminding our progressing of age, our getting old, and inevitability of our final meeting with the Lord we are expecting on the base of our good Christian life which come at the moment of our death. This is also the meaning of the Aramaic word the Christians used to sing asking Jesus to come very soon: ma-ra-na-tha (“come Lord and do not delay”).