Advent starts next week

By Msgr. William Carr

Solemnity of Christ The King, Thirty-fourth and Last Sunday in Ordinary Time

Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 1:5-8; and John 18:33-37
What difference does Jesus Christ make in your life? When you are at work or at play, does your faith in him make you any different from others?
When you are relaxing with friends, or when you are enjoying recreation, are you any different because you know Christ Jesus? Jesus Christ should be the meaning of every dimension of our lives.
We don’t always need to voice this; it’s often better that we don’t. But people should see in our lives the reflection of Jesus Christ. They should see that we live entirely for him, and that he is the reason for everything we do.
The Feast of Christ the King was instituted in 1925 (in the “Roaring Twenties”) when civic and social life was divorced entirely from religion. It was the time of the rise of Totalitarian dictatorships.
Among religious people, it was a time of sentimentality without substance. We claim Christ as our King: All laws of nations must be subject to his moral reign. We claim Christ as our King: We cannot be content with mere sentimentality in our private religion; we are called to profess our faith publicly and boldly.
Our first reading is from Daniel. Jesus used the title “Son of Man.” Today’s reading speaks of one “like a Son of Man” coming on the clouds of heaven and standing between earth and heaven. Our second reading describes Jesus Christ as the ruler of all the kings of the earth. The Gospel is ironic: Jesus has been beaten; yet he proclaims that he is King. His kingship is dedicated to proclaiming truth, justice, righteousness, and mercy. He will die for this, but death cannot be victorious. He will always triumph. Let us renew our loyalty to Christ our King in every dimension of our lives.

First Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16; I Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28,34-36
The First Sunday of Advent is often thought of as the beginning of the Church year. A good case can be made for thinking of Easter as the real beginning of newness. But at least, today, we begin a new series of Scripture readings. During this new liturgical year, outside of Lent and Easter, our gospel readings for the most part will be taken from the Gospel according to Luke. (This past liturgical year they were taken from Mark; next liturgical year they will be taken from Matthew.)
Advent means “Coming.” We renew our hope in the three “Comings” of Christ: His Coming in history (at Bethlehem and in his public life); his Coming in mystery (in each Eucharist and moment of grace); and his Coming in majesty (The “Second Coming” or Parousia at the end of the world.)
Advent is a time of preparation, of hope, and of joy. We prepare for Christmas by realizing its true meaning. We also prepare for the Coming of the Lord in Holy Communion and in each moment of grace. And we must prepare for his final Coming by living each day as if it may be our last. We renew our hope.
God has not abandoned us! He sent his Son to save us; he has sent his Spirit into our hearts; nothing can ever separate us from the love of God. Our attitude toward this world and toward life must always be different because Christ has come, will come, and does come!
Finally, if we become a people of hope, we can also be a people of joy — even though there is still suffering in the world. We do our best to care for those in need, but when we are helpless we still proclaim hope and joy: For everlasting joy awaits all of us in heaven.
During the Advent season, part of our preparation is to deny ourselves certain “liturgical joys” as we prepare for the great festival of Christmas. The organ and other instruments are not played solo, and are used only if needed to sustain the singing. Flowers are not permitted in Church during Advent, except on the Third Sunday. The “Glory to God” is omitted from Advent Masses.
These are reminders of the glorious joy which will come on Christmas.
It is difficult to think of preparation and hope when the world is already celebrating Christmas. But somehow we must realize that preparation is necessary if we truly appreciate the Coming of the Lord. Our first reading speaks of a “righteous shoot” which shall come from David. This surely contradicted the experience of God’s people with centuries of worthless descendants of David!
The second reading is Paul’s hope that the Lord strengthen us so that we shall always be prepared for the glorious Coming of the Lord. The gospel is taken from Jesus’ Eschatological Sermon — the Sermon on the Last Things. If the world were to end today, would we be ready for Christ’s Coming?