Preparing for the Coming of Jesus The First Sunday of Advent A

Preparing for the Coming of Jesus The First Sunday of Advent A

Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

         The liturgical season of Advent begins today. The word Advent comes from the Latin verb advenire which means to come to: ad, meaning “to” plus venire, meaning “to come”. During the season of Advent, we are to prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus. We prepare for the coming of Jesus in several ways.

          First, we prepare for the coming of Jesus in the context of the liturgical calendar when we will celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, on Christmas day, December 25th.

         We also prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus at the end of time when he will return to judge the living and the dead and usher in a New Heavens and New Earth when the entire universe will be transformed by Jesus’s perfect, truthful love. The first reading from Isaiah and the Gospel passage focus on this second coming of Jesus. Isaiah does so by prophesying that one-day Jerusalem will be transformed into a new heavenly Jerusalem to which people from all nations will travel to worship the Lord God. This worship of the true God will transform the people’s hearts from one violent competition and wars between nations to one where people of all nations will recognize one another as brothers and sisters of one Heavenly Father, with Jesus as their elder brother, and Mary as their spiritual mother.

         Third, we are to prepare ourselves for the coming Jesus to us each day. The second reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans focuses on this daily preparation. In the passage, Paul refers to waking from sleep. When we wake from sleep, we are, Paul instructs, to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

         When we wake up each morning, how can we in practical ways throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor light? One way is to practice what St. Josemaría Escriva called the “Heroic Minute.” During the first minute after we wake up, we are to courageously commit ourselves not to mull over the difficulties we will face that day or the painful moments of our life but rather deliberately get up, offer ourselves to God and in that first minute face the day in the strength given to us by God. If we get the first minute of the day ordered properly to God the rest of the minutes of the day, like dominoes will be influenced positively by this holy “Heroic Minute.”[1]

         When I heard of this Heroic Minute, I tried to practice it by praying for the grace the night before to be able to wake up and face the day during the first minute of my wake-up time. This spiritual practice has helped me to prepare for the coming of Jesus during the day through the many events in life that unfold and the people whom I encounter.

         This Heroic Minute of getting out of bed and offering ourselves to God in the first minute we wake up may be followed by dedicating time in the morning, perhaps fifteen minutes for some, half an hour for others, or an hour or more for others of, suggests Brant Pitre, by engaging in prayer, such as reading the Bible, spiritual reading, mental prayer, and the Liturgy of the Hours.[2]

         The Heroic Minute coupled with morning prayer are specific ways to remove the clothing of darkness while clothing ourselves in the armor of light, the clothing of Jesus Christ, to prepare for Jesus who comes to us in many ways.  May God Bless You – Father Peter


[1] Rachel Jurado, “The Heroic Minute: An Opportunity for Spiritual Victory,” stjosemaria.org., https://stjosemaria.org/the-heroic-minute-an-opportunity-for-spiritual-victory/.

[2] Brant Pitre, “The First Sunday of Advent (Year A),” catholicproductions.com.

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