First Sunday of Advent
Second Reading: Romans 13: 11-14
During Advent - as with Lent - the Second Reading is chosen to reflect the other Readings of the Day and so it comes as no surprise to find that the theme of being a people waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour is taken up by St Paul in today’s Reading.
St Paul is dealing now with the reality that the Second Coming may not be quite as imminent as everyone had first though - and naturally, the communities he was writing to were probably beginning to wonder whether it was worth waiting - or whether they should just merge back into the culture of the world around them.
So, St Paul is, in a way, rallying the troops - the darkness will soon pass - and we will walk into the light. In the meantime, we must not become like those who prefer to live in the shadows - or who like to do their dealings in the dark.
Our lives should be lived so that, when the Light of the World comes - and all is revealed, we have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
There cannot be many Christians who haven’t wondered from time to time whether it is worth the effort. Wouldn’t it be easier, even today, to become like everyone else? Surely, if everyone else gets away with living the way they do - not going to church - or praying - or even having any spiritual side to their lives - surely that would be alright for us too? Why do we have to take stands on issues - when it is so obvious that we are out of step with everyone else?
What if they are all right - and we are wrong?
And this is where faith comes in - and more especially hope.
St Paul sees the need to stand firm in that hope. he uses the idea of Jesus being our armour against all that tempts us - or threatens us. This is a useful image.
Another useful image is one of the symbols sometimes used to represent hope - an anchor. It reminds us of the strength of the anchor - holding a ship safe in storms - being dropped into the sea when the ship returns to her home-harbour.
As we face the future - and wait for the coming of Jesus - we need both armour and anchor. Sometimes it is the case that “when the going gets tough - the tough get going” - in which case we need the armour of Christ. At other times, though, when the going gets tough, the tough need to stand their ground - and at such times, we need the anchor of faith and unquenchable hope that Jesus is Lord - and will, ultimately triumph.
What does it mean for me?
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