"Watch, therefore; you do not know when the lord of the house is coming." —Mark 13:35
Jesus is coming to each one of us in a new, personal, life-changing way this Christmas season. "We are sinful; all of us have become like unclean men, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind" (Is 64:4-5). Therefore, we desperately need an "encounter with the living Jesus Christ" (Church in America, Pope John Paul II, 3).
Jesus will come this Christmas as He came at the first Christmas. He will come really and profoundly, yet quietly and simply. Thus, it will be easy to miss His coming this Christmas, just as many missed His first Christmas coming. Accordingly, the Church commands us to be watchful and alert (Mk 13:33-37). This Advent, let us:
- "Watch and pray" (Mk 14:38). Let us break new ground in prayer by praying with our spouses, families, and fellow employees. Let us pray the Mass as often as possible. Let us make two Advent Confessions.
- Watch and abstain. Let us fast a day or two during each week of this Advent. Let us make sacrifices, do penance, and shut off the TV.
- Watch and read the Scriptures. Through God's word, we hear, believe in, and meet Christ (see Rm 10:17). Consider reading the book of the prophet Isaiah this Advent. Read about three chapters a day.
Jesus is certainly coming and is soon to come (see Rv 22:20). However, Jesus' comings have been and continue to be missed. Watch during this Advent. Meet Jesus.
Prayer: Father, as we begin this new Church year, reveal Your will for me this Advent.
Promise: "He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus [Christ]." —1 Cor 1:8
Praise: Praise the risen Jesus, soon to come! Come, Lord Jesus!
Nihil Obstat: Reverend David L. Zink, June 12, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 13, 2002