Advent and the Two Comings of Christ

12-12-2021Weekly ReflectionFr. Hans Ruygt

Most people think of Advent as the “Christmas Season,” but that really does not properly describe this time of preparation. As Catholics, the scriptures at Mass and all the prayers we use, draw our attention to the Second Coming of Christ at the end of our lives. It is only when we get close to the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord that that we see a transition in both the scriptures and the prayers of Mass and other official prayers of the season to focus on the First Coming of Christ to dwell with us.

From The First Sunday of Advent to December 16th:

During this time, we think and pray in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ at the end of time. Are we prepared to meet Our Savior? Do we need to humble ourselves in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and “come clean” about the reality of our sins and temptations to sin? The Lord asks that we approach him with a clean heart. He is merciful but also just. He asks for our repentance, our sorrow for sin, true contrition and he wants us to make amends for the times we have offended God by following our disordered desires instead of the order of His plan which restores grace, brings us peace and helps to heal the divisions between humans. During this period of Advent we will celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, December 8th, the beginning of her life in the womb of her mother, St. Ann. God chose her and prepared her from the moment of her conception for the role of being the Mother of God. We will also celebrate Rejoice Sunday (rose candle) because we remain filled with hope in the Messiah.

December 17th to December 24th:

These are the days where everything in the liturgical life of the Church draws our attention to the First Coming of Christ. Christ is the Light of the World. He is the Word of God made flesh. He is the font of grace and holiness, the Prince of Peace, the fulfillment of our human longing for security, comfort, peace and joy. We get ready to proclaim to the whole world that Jesus in not just “our” Lord, he is “THE Lord” of heaven and earth.

December 24th to January 17:

Christmas is the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. That is why we Catholics continue our celebration for many days to follow, all the way into the new year and through the feasts of Epiphany (January 2nd) and the Baptism of the Lord (January 17). The modern liturgical calendar has moved these feasts to Sundays so that we celebrate them fully and with more people participating, but the actual Epiphany has traditionally been twelve days after Christmas Day, on January 6th.