Dec. 1, 2019 - First Sunday in Advent
(Is 2: 1-5; Rom 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44)
Advent is time of preparation and anticipation. The first reading from Isaiah is all about anticipation of wonderful “days to come” in which Israel will be the source of world-wide enlightenment and peace. As Christians we understand that Christ is the fulfillment of that prophesy. The transformation described by Isaiah is underway. We are part of it, not merely passive observers, if we but “walk in the light of the Lord.” Paul in the second reading speaks of preparation in terms of wakefulness. In the Advent season we practice our wakefulness with particular attention. We contemplate the Nativity that we celebrate every year as well as Christ's return at the end of time so that we might not be caught unawares, wallowing in sin, at his next visit, or at our own personal judgment. The Gospel also speaks of wakefulness and preparation. Jesus reminds us how in the time of Noah people went about their daily lives unaware, unconcerned and unprepared for God's presence in the world. The description of “one will be taken, one will be left” should not be taken as a description of “the rapture” as understood by certain evangelicals where the believers are snatched up into heaven and the unbelievers are “left behind” to endure the tribulation. Instead the image is of separation. It could be that those left behind are the believers and those taken are the unfaithful who are swept away as in the flood in the days of Noah. The important thing for us to pay attention to what Jesus says and stay vigilant.