What Will I Be Doing When the Lord Comes?

Advent 1B
Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7 / 1n Corinthians 1:3-9 / Mark 13:33-37

When I was Vocation Director for the Diocese
I was sitting around talking to
several of our seminarians—
and all of a sudden,
one of them asked this question:

“If you knew Jesus was coming back in 24 hours,
what would you do during those 24 hours?”

“If you knew Jesus was coming back in 24 hours,
what would you want Him finding you doing
when He came back?”

Great question isn’t it?!?!?!?

Well, as I was pondering what
answer I would give to these
impressionable seminarians,
one of them blurted out:

“If I was a priest,
I know what I’d be doing,
I’d be hearing confessions,
I’d be sitting in the confessional for
the last 24 hours of the world!!!”

What a great answer!!!
As soon as he said it,
I knew it would be one of
my answers too.

I’ve thought a lot about that
question since that day—
I’ve thought a lot about what I
hope I’m doing when the
Lord comes again—
or what I’m doing when
I take my last breath
right before I’m going to meet Jesus.

I’d love to be elevating the host during mass.
That would be my biggest hope.
Then the confessional—
I think those would be my first answers.

What about you?

What do you hope you’re doing
when Jesus comes again?

That’s one of the things the
Church asks us to think about on this
first Sunday of Advent—
contemplating on the coming of Jesus.

The prophet Isaiah—
in the first reading—
is begging for God to come—
begging for God to come and help
the Israelites after they
had been exiled and are now
back in the Holy Land.

“Oh, [God] that you would rend the heavens and
come down,
with the mountains quaking before you.”

“Oh, [God] that you would rend the heavens and
come down,

And then there is this line from the Prophet:
“Would that you [God] might meet us,
doing right,
that we were mindful of your ways.”

“Would that you [God] might meet us,
doing right,
that we were mindful of your ways.”

What do we hope we’re doing
when Jesus comes again—
or right before we meet Jesus?

This reading in the first week in Advent
also begs the question—
at least for me—

“What do I hope I’m not doing when
the Lord comes again?”

I’ve got some pretty good answers for that one too.

One thing I hope I’m not doing
is tearing someone down—
I would want to be building someone up!!!

And I hope I’m not doing something else
that’s sinful—
not being mindful of the ways of God.

I’m in a Bible study,
and we were discussing these readings—
and one of the participants recalled what
his dad was doing the day he died—
right before he met Jesus.

He said his father had breakfast with his mom—
then he went to Church and went to confession—
and then he was out delivering food to
the homeless when he died.

Now that’s the way to go!!!
Would that be a great time to meet Jesus—
Right after doing that!!!

When is this going to happen?
When will Jesus return?

That’s another major point these
readings of the 1st Sunday of want to make.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel:
Be watchful!! Be alert!!
You do not know when the time will come!!!

Be watchful!! Be alert!!!

In this Bible study I’m in—
a Bible study with all good Christian men—
I asked them to raise their hand
if they were going to be afraid
when Jesus comes back—
or if they were going to be afraid when they
died and met Jesus face to face?

And the majority of them, to my surprise—
raised their hands—
they would be scared when Jesus comes to get them.

And then I told them about St. Therese.

Waiting to meet Jesus—
waiting to meet God—
even waiting to be judged by God—
was—for her—
a time of great excitement—
a time of joy and hope.

And I told them one of my favorite stories
Of St. Therese.

It’s one that she told a struggling priest—
you’ve probably heard me tell it before—
but I never get tired of it—
because it’s so wonderful—
it’s such the Good News—
I hope you never get tired of hearing it.

St. Therese told a story of a
father who had two sons. (Letter 258; July 18, 1897; to Fr. Belliere)

And like most young boys,
at times these two sons would
be a bit disobedient and mischievous.

So when the sons see their father coming—
they react in two very different ways.

One son knows in his heart that
that he has been mischievous—
and that he deserves to be punished.

So when he sees his father coming,
he starts to tremble in fear and
runs as far away from his father as possible.

But the other disobedient son reacts
in a very different way.

He too knows in his heart that
he has been mischievous—
and that he deserves to be punished—
but when he sees his father coming—
instead of running away—
he runs as fast as he can towards his father.

He runs to his father and
throws himself into his father’s arms—
saying he’s sorry for having been
disobedient and mischievous—
sorry for causing his father any trouble—
and that he loves his father—
and he’ll try to be better.

And then he tells his father
to go ahead and punish him—
now listen to this—
to go ahead and punish him—
punish him with kisses—with kisses.

What a great story—
What a great Advent story!!!

How can St. Therese be so confident
in the love and mercy of God?

How can St. Therese be so confident
in meeting Jesus?—
meeting him with great joy and anticipation—
and not in fear.

Well, her secret,
And the secret of all the saints,
is found in the second reading that
the Church gives us for this first Sunday of Advent.

St. Paul tells the Corinth Christians that
there is one thing—
one thing that will keep them until the end—
one thing that will make them
irreproachable on that last day—
and that is fellowship with Jesus—
that is an intimate relationship with Jesus.

That’s why St. Therese—
And all of the saints can be so confident
in the love and mercy of God—
that is why they can be
so confident in meeting their Lord
when He comes to get them.

They know Him—
They know really know Him—they know Jesus,

What incredible readings the Church
gives us on this first Sunday of Advent.

It’s the start of an Advent playbook—
an Advent guide—
as we anxiously watch—
as we wait—
as we prepare for
the coming of Jesus Christ.

We don’t know when it’s going be—
So we prepare—
we stay vigilant by living right—
by being mindful of His ways.

What do we want Him to see us doing
when He comes to get us?

So we prepare—
we stay vigilant—
by staying in fellowship with Him—
in relationship with Him—
giving him time—
making Him our priority.

And then, with this Advent playbook—
this guidebook for life—
We’ll see Him coming for us from afar—
And we’ll run straight towards Him—
Not in fear—
But in joyful anticipation—
We’ll jump in His arms—
And tell Him we’re sorry and
how much we love Him—
and ask Him to punish us with kisses.

Holy Spirit 12/02-03/2017

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