Sunday, 28 November 2010

1st Sunday of Advent, Year A, Shaftesbury

Mt 24:37-44; Rom 13:11-14
Today’s readings remind us of the End of the World, in particular, about the Second Coming of Christ, “when the Son of Man comes”(Mt 24:39).
There are 2 matters of humour that I often think of when I think of the Second Coming:
The first is a bumper sticker I’ve seen on cars: “Jesus is Coming. Look Busy!”
The second is a comedy sketch from the old Spitting Image series in the 1980s. It featured a priest rushing in to tell the Pope that Jesus had just returned. And, Spitting Image, irreverent as always, had the Pope reply: “Quick! Sell the popemobile and buy a Skoda –I want Him to think I’ve been suffering!”

What both of these comic images have in common is the notion that there is something that we think we can keep hidden from God. And it is right that the thought of trying to hide something from God should be a matter of humour, because God by definition is the one being that we cannot hide anything from.
Of course, many of the things in life that we laugh about are things that people do all the time, are things that WE do all the time. And when we laugh about things that people do all the time part of the reason we laugh is because we can recognise the ridiculousness of it when someone else does it, even if we fail to see the foolishness of our own behaviour in the same regard.

In our second reading today (Rom 13:11-14) we heard St Paul speak about how the coming of Christ will be the coming of "daylight" so that the "night” will be over. As St Paul indicated one of the things that the coming of daylight does is that it shows up all the things that cannot be seen at night. He gave the particular example of people sins: sins will be publicly exposed and seen in the coming of the light of Christ. And he draws a very simple conclusion: if our deeds are going to be exposed to the light, if our deeds are going to be exposed for all to see, then: "Let us live decently as people do in the daytime”(Rom 13:13).

Now, I imagine that many of us might hear the items, the sins, on St Paul's list and think, “Well, I don't do those things” –they are, after all, a list of the most serious sins, the things you would probably LEAST like to have exposed to the daylight.
Maybe, you don't commit any of those sins. Maybe, you don’t need to sell your equivalent of a popemobile because already drive a Skoda.
However, I think we all have little sins that we would be embarrassed to have brought to light: little acts of selfishness, little acts of laziness, uncharitable thoughts about other people, critical judgements, and so forth.

Every year the Church starts our season of Advent by reminding us of the Second Coming of Christ. We prepare to celebrate His birth at Christmas by remembering WHO that baby was and is: the child who was born in Bethlehem is the same God who will come as Lord and Judge at the End of Time.
For the world in general, and for us as individuals with our own particular death, “you do not know the hour”(Mt 14:44).
And so, let us remember that, “Jesus is Coming.” So, “Look Busy!” And let us not only ‘look’ busy but be busy in fact, let us repent and be "busy" with things that He would have us do.

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