This December we not only anxiously await the second coming of Jesus, but we also eagerly await meeting you, our first son. Much like the Holy Family, we are nervous and have no idea what to expect. There are so many things for you to learn and the mystery of what your life could become is overwhelming. As we sit on the advent of your birth, I write to you in hopes of laying a foundation for your life; a foundation already laid by our Lord Jesus Christ and passed on from father to father. Over the next four weeks I want to show you what Jesus wants you to know as you enter this world.
37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
– Matthew 27:37-44
This seems like an odd Gospel to begin the new year. The season of Advent is supposed to be a season of joyful waiting for the coming of Jesus, but this Gospel does not seem joyful at all. As everyone begins to buy presents, decorate, and listen to Mariah Carey, Jesus is exhorting us to be watchful for his second coming and to not get caught unaware. Why does Jesus want us to hear this first? What is Jesus trying to tell us?
In this Gospel we hear Jesus speaking positively of those who are “ready” for the coming of the Son of man. Thus, we must look at what Jesus means by “ready”. He seems to be calling us to a vigilance and awareness of our transient state in this life. This life is not permanent so we should not treat it as such. Jesus does not speak down of “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage.” He does however infer that we must always be preparing for the impending flood: our own death. We must live our earthly lives with an awareness of where we came from and where we are going to.
Jesus is laying the foundation of our human existence; although we are created in this world, we were made for something greater than this world. This is important for both of us to remember, my son. It will be very easy for us to be over concerned with comfort, grades, athletic achievements, and financial stability. These are important but Jesus is calling to us and reminding us that we are made for something greater than what the world offers us. We were made for God Himself.
God is the only one who can fulfill our longing for happiness. Neither of us will ever be content until we are united with our Lord in the heavenly kingdom. The world will offer you happiness in money, honor, pleasure, and purpose. These can be helpful but they are not the end because they will all be washed away in the flood of our death. If our hearts continue to try to find solace in things of the world then we will continue to be disappointed. Therefore, we must not be wrapped up in the ways of the world. We must, in all things that we do, focus on our eternal end that is God. It is Him and only Him that has the eternal happiness that our hearts long for. It is Him who created us and it is Him who calls us home to Himself. He is our true Father, the catalyst of our existence, and he knows what is best for us. We were not made for this world, we were made for the Father.
“You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in
you.” – St. Augustine