‘Come, Lord Jesus, Come.’
‘Come, Lord Jesus, come.’ That popular hymn title, taken from the concluding words of the whole Bible, (Rev.22. 20), proclaims the meaning of this holy season of Advent. It is meant to remind us of our constant and desperate need for God to come to our aid.
The holy season of Advent is meant to shake us out of taking pride in our self-sufficiency. We can so easily push God into the background. We do not allow Him to ‘intrude’ into our daily lives, into the way we think and act. When the psalmist condemns the fool for saying ‘there is no God’ he is not accusing him of denying the very existence of God. No, the fool’s folly is to think he can manage his life very well without God being involved. But if God were ever to cease sustaining our very existence we would collapse in nothingness. God is with us, in all that we are and do -except for our sinning.
During Advent we focus on several special ways in which God comes into our lives and with His help we try to make Him welcome.
First, Advent helps us recall with gratitude that God chose a people and made a covenant of love with them. He gave them laws which would protect their relationship with Him and with each other. Like a good shepherd, He was always with them, guiding and protecting them. His spokesmen were the prophets. Not only did they keep God’s people on the right path, but they prophesied that God would come into their midst as the saviour-messiah of the whole world, not just a small chosen people. That Messiah, of course, was Jesus Christ, whose birthday we will celebrate at Christmas. During Advent we will be preparing ourselves to make Him especially welcome on that day. We will try to appreciate the wonder of the Son of God Himself sharing our human life, simply because He loves us people so much that He was prepared to do all in His power to make it possible for us to share His divine life and happiness.
Next, during Advent we remember the different ways the Holy Spirit enables us to meet Jesus in our daily lives -through prayer, the sacraments and each other. As we become more aware of Christ identifying with the needy we should be moved to come to their aid in what are known as the ‘Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.’ In so many different ways Jesus knocks at the door of our lives, hoping we will open up to Him and let Him in.
They prepare us for the most decisive moment when Jesus comes to us in our lives -the moment of our deaths. If we have welcomed Him during our earthly lives, He will come to welcome us into His eternal life and happiness in the Kingdom of Heaven. We won’t be strangers.
Death is a taboo subject. We don’t want to talk or think about it. Especially when we are fit, active and so full of life death doesn’t enter our way of thinking, but like it or not none of us can avoid it. Nor do I want to! At 86 years old and with serious heart and lung problems, I could die at any moment. That doesn’t frighten me.
Why? Our faith gives us hope in a far better life beyond the grave. Then we hope to share the very life and happiness of God Himself. We should look forward to that; we should long for that.
Not that any of us is fit to enter the presence of the All-Holy God. In Himself He so transcends us, His creatures, that He is unapproachable. We are all sinners, unfit to enter His presence, but, thank God, we do not trust in what we deserve, but in His infinite love and mercy. My faith is sustained by two key texts. First, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believed in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.…” (Jn. 3. 16-17).
Next, I make St. Paul’s confession of faith my own, “I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me,” (Gal. 2. 20). His sacrificial love and mercy for each of us is the only hope I need. That gives me the confidence to pray each day and night, “Come, Lord Jesus, come.” Now I’m impatient for Jesus to welcome me into His Kingdom at the hour of my death.
Finally, Jesus will come in glory at the end of time. Then He will establish His sovereignty over heaven and earth. Every form of evil will be wiped away. That will be the climax, the completion, of God’s plan of salvation. We should all long for that ‘Day of the Lord,’ as we join the first Christians in praying, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”