It’s that beautiful time of the year again, when “sleigh bells ring, people sing and Christmas is in the air” — and what a beautiful time it is indeed! Our Sunday readings at Mass, however, beginning this Sunday, don’t yet reflect the events of what we know the season to be all about. Instead, for a while, the liturgy of the word focuses on the Second Coming of Our Lord.
“Isaiah, son of Amoz,” looks forward to the mountain of the Lord that shall be established above all mountains. This is not just any mountain though. Sure, when Isaiah spoke of it, he meant Mount Zion in Israel, but we know that God’s Word always carries a few layers of meaning behind it. The mountain that the Lord will eventually build will be the heavenly mountain where God shall dwell with his people — the heavenly Jerusalem; God’s city.
Isaiah in our first reading pushes us on to seek this mountain — not on a map with compasses, but with righteousness and upright lives. “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob.”
Our responsorial psalm indicates in what manner we are to walk: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” Our psalm for the day, in its first stanza, confirms what we have said about where the Lord’s house truly is: Within your gates, O Jerusalem!
St Paul in our second reading, however, serves as our speed bump to make sure that we remain watchful as Noah and his family did according to Jesus in this Sunday’s Gospel. “Wake up from sleep” St Paul cries, and wake up we must. Those of us who still allow ourselves or perhaps parts of ourselves to remain asleep, numb to the things of above, are being called, re-invited even, to examine ourselves and see, this advent, what needs to be put back into order in our lives. “The night is advanced” St Paul says, meaning that the time of darkness where we have engaged in sinful practices is over and the morning comes soon. Therefore, “let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day” and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.”
Take it from God Himself: “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
The Eucharist — the very body of He Who said these words — will give us what we need to stay awake and live in the Day — the Eternal Day; He Who is light unending.