Gospel Lk 2:41-52

“When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.”


Jesus employs some fairly harrowing imagery in this Sunday’s reading. These things, he says, will accompany his glorious return. The apocalyptic overtones are at once terrifying and matched with words of consolation.

The season of Advent which begins this Sunday marks the beginning of is an annual reminder of a foundational hope of the Christian faith, namely that Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.

We live in the joyful and expectant hope of this as we know that God is a God of mercy. This hope is not presumption, but it is realistic as we know that mercy is not simply an attribute of God, a characteristic that he possesses, but we can say that mercy is of his very essence. Mercy, says St John Paul II is love’s other name. (Dives in Misericordia, 7)

Hope is a theological virtue which is not passive presumption, but actually is the cause for our activity. In hope we are saved, and this hope spurs us on to live as Jesus taught, to ‘Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’ (cf. Lk 21)

The season of Advent is one of expectant and hopeful waiting, but waiting it seems is not something we are often prepared to do in our culture. Indeed, it feels at times that we have been conditioned not to wait, but to take what we can immediately perhaps thinking that hope in God is unfounded.

Let us pray for the grace to wait in joyful hope for Christ’s coming this Christmas, rather than living as though it is Christmas already.

Prayer for Advent
Grant, almighty Father,
that when Christ comes again we may go out to meet him
bearing the harvest of good works achieved by your grace.
We pray that he will receive us into the company of the saints
and call us into the kingdom of heaven.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.