Happy New Year!!! Wait, what?? It's not January 1st already, is it?! No, it's the First Sunday of Advent, and that is always the best and truest "New Year"—the first day of the Catholic Church's New Year of Grace 2021. So, again, Happy New Year!
You will notice that the readings for this First Sunday of Advent are all about the end of the world and the Second Coming of the our Lord Jesus Christ. And it doesn't matter which Gospel Cycle we are beginning, Matthew or Mark or Luke, the readings for EVERY First Sunday of Advent are ALWAYS about the Second Coming at the end of all time.
"But wait, what does the end of the world and the Second Coming have to do with getting ready for Christmas?! If we ask the question that way, then we are in danger of losing the built-in tension of the Advent season. That tension can be summed up in this way: "What are we doing in Advent? We are preparing for the Coming of the Lord, by preparing for the Coming of the Lord!" Huh?? "We are preparing for the Coming of the Lord (His Second Coming at the end of time) with the help of His First Coming at Christmas 2000 years ago. So the focus at the beginning of the Advent Season is on His Second Coming, which is so important to take seriously and to prepare for with all diligence.
Toward that end, the Church gives us “the-end-of-the-world-is-coming—get-ready-for-the-Lord Jesus” kinds of Scripture readings for the first week or so of Advent. Then as we get closer to Christmas, the Church gives us readings that highlight His First Coming. Why? So that by getting ready to celebrate His First Coming at Christmas, we will grow in confidence (like St. Therese!!!) that He really, really loves us: "Look at how poor and humble He is, coming to us as the little baby of a poor and humble couple, Joseph and Mary! So I don't need to be afraid of you, Jesus, when you come again in glory. I've become your disciple, and I'm learning to let you love me more and more and to love you back! Yes, come Lord Jesus, come soon! Maranatha! The Spirit and the Bride (me!) say, 'Come!!!' "
Hoping and praying that you had a gratitude-filled Thanksgiving Feast on Thursday and the whole week! And hoping to see you at the best Thanksgiving Feast of all: the Feast of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, that Holy Sacrifice, Sacrament, Memorial, and Thanksgiving Meal we call "Holy Mass."