Feria of the First Sunday in Advent 2021.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

My Brethren in Christ Jesus, blessings, and peace, as we look forward to the Coming of Our Lord in glory and in truth to judge both the quick and the dead. The Season of Advent concludes with the Eve of Our Lord’s Nativity; the moment just before the Incarnate God breaks into the world to save us finally from ourselves. No one outside of the Holy Family, Mary and Joseph, and their relations, would have known for sure what was about to happen, though there was a Prophetic hint literally in the sky drawing the Three Wise Men into Bethlehem. Most of humanity on that fateful night went about their business or their leisure without a clue. They knew nothing of the Prophets who pointed to the Coming of Christ, or they misunderstood what they had read and heard. We can imagine a world about to be transformed into a new creation, where all of space and time are literally on the cusp, and yet as mired in darkness and ignorance as ever before. In a sense, for most of humanity, it did not matter that the Law and the Prophets indeed had been pointing to this moment in time for centuries; for men blinded by sin and ignorance will always perceive what had been forecast as if something sudden and unexpected. They are way too lost in themselves to see the signs. They are way too consumed with the here and the now to lift up their faces to what is eternal all around them. In Matthew’s Gospel, Christ Jesus explains to his disciples: “For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.” The eschatological signs pointing to the Second Coming of Christ may be many and longstanding, but most people will walk by them as if they are not even there to behold. By the time most people are even dimly aware of what is happening, it will be much too late. Caught unawares, the people will scatter like frightened sheep; and the false teachings and self-justifying conceits with which they had indulged so much of their time will be shown to be nothing but a flimsy house of cards in comparison to what is unfolding. Like the Night Before Christmas, the Night Before His Second Coming will be pregnant with that very real potentiality, the world groaning in labor pains for the judgment about to be rendered, and yet what will man know? How well will he be prepared? Christ Jesus answers these questions when He says to his disciples: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For in those days before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark. And they did not understand until the Flood came and took them all away. So will the coming of the Son of Man be.” The deepest root of this widespread blindness is faithlessness, which is why Christ Jesus asks: “When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find any faith on the earth?” One suspects that the faithful remnant on that portentous last night will be as small in number as the Shepherds and the Three Wise Men who approached the Holy Family in the manger. Our Lord’s return will be exponentially bigger and louder than His birth, and yet humanity’s blindness up to the last moment will remain as intense as ever unless and until the scales drop from their eyes. And who can drop those scales, but God Himself? Even the blessed among us “look through a glass darkly,” as St. Paul describes our predicament in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. We can do no better. Such is the grip that sin has on our souls. God Himself must intervene. He alone plants the signs. He alone opens our eyes. He makes it easy for us, for He does all the heavy lifting, and conditions us to receive Him in faith. As Christ Jesus says unto the faithful: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We only have to turn to Him, freely, openly, in a spirit of love, and with a heart for charity. And when we fall away from love and charity, and revisit our old and tired sins, we only have to return to him on our knees in gratitude for all our second chances. In other words, all we need to do is to try and then to keep on trying, and God will do the rest in leading us through the darkness.

In today’s Gospel, Christ Jesus fulfills one of the signs of the Coming Messiah when He rides into Jerusalem on an ass and a colt. As the Prophet Zechariah declares: “Rejoice, greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is just, and will bring salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Indeed, many are the voices that rejoice, as the excited multitude lay down their garments and palm branches along the way. They respond to the Coming of Our Lord, but do they really see Him for who He is? Are they motivated by faith, or by a kind of mob enthusiasm? We can never know what was in the heart of any one person singing, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” For that matter, we cannot really know what is in the heart of the person seated beside us in Church when we make the same proclamation. What we do know is that when Christ Jesus soon thereafter went to the Temple, cleared out the moneychangers, and upset their tables, most of the multitude who had praised Him now abandoned Him. Whatever may have been in their hearts did not survive being confronted by events that defied their expectations. This King was not the King they had imagined Him to be. They reject Him as much as they reject the God who is not the God they demand. Sin not only blinds. Sin also perverts our expectations, and tries to fit whatever we may behold into those expectations. Sin will pervert our vision of the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, if given a chance. It will warp our experience of salvation. It will degrade our pleasure in the Father’s Kingdom. It will replace Christ Jesus with ourselves on the Judgment Seat and on the Throne in Heaven, and for that reason it must be judged for what it is, purged out from our souls, and vanquished. Sin must be ripped from our souls as much as the scales dropped from our eyes. For to be saved is to see, and to see is to be saved. With Christ Jesus in our hearts, the eschatological promise, the signs of grace spreading out for all to behold, the sunrise breaking through the darkness, will be seen, and embraced. His return may be sudden, but it will not be unexpected. His return will be unto us as natural and as intimate as our soul’s movement unto Him. For this we should pray in earnest and with humility as we focus on the Second Coming of Christ in this Season of Advent.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. 

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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