We Christians love a good paradox. At the start of each liturgical year, we begin with the end. While the world soothes us with serene Christmas images, the First Sunday of Advent warns us of the end of days when “people will die of fright” (Lk 21:26). O, what joy?!
By starting Advent focused on the end of the world, we prepare for more than just Jesus’s birth. We ready ourselves for Christ’s coming at the fullness of time. Here we have another paradox. For those who have strengthened their hearts with love for all (second reading), that final day is one of hope, not fear.While the world soothes us with serene Christmas images, the First Sunday of Advent warns us of the end of days when “people will die of fright” (Lk 21:26). O, what joy?! Click To Tweet
Advent’s call to conversion reveals that each day of our lives is an advent in which we must look for the signs of earthly powers being shaken that signal the Spirit bringing about God’s reign. In this passage from Luke’s Gospel, the Greek word used for “world” is not the usual kosmos but oikoumene, related to political and economic structures.
When the Son of God enters human history, our comfortable systems are turned upside down. The mighty are brought low and the lowly lifted up. When we see these structures that privilege the powerful crumbling to dust, let us not die of fright but raise our heads with joyful hope, for our redemption is at hand.