(I Thessalonians 5:5)
This Sunday's second reading (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)exhorts us to wakefulness and eagerness for the Second Coming of Christ, the final event, the culminating mystery for which we pray at every Eucharist ("We await His coming in glory"-Eucharistic Prayer B). My guess, however, is that, although participating in and encouraged by such prayer of the Church, the Second Coming is not always on the horizon of our concerns or wishes. I mean, really. We have work, relationships - both joyous and complicated, bills to pay, health issues to address, and everything on our activity and shopping list. I must admit that such can be the case with me. I secretly yearn for Christ's coming, but my yearning is not prominent every day.
St. Paul does invite us daily to "keep awake and be sober", reminding us, however, that such yearning is super-natural. It does not automatically position itself alongside all of the above: "Hmm. Let's see. Today's to-do list: clean the basement, bake a cheesecake, exercise, call Mom, and yearn for the Second Coming". "Put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation", St. Paul tells us. We have been given these three gifts - faith, hope, and love - to enable us to be in relationship with the One for whose coming we long. Yearning for the Second Coming is thus a gift - a gift, however, that does require our freely chosen participation. What St. Augustine and St. Catherine of Siena teach us regarding salvation really applies to all aspects of our relationship with God, including the Second Coming, "God will not save us without us". Simply dare to believe and hope and love each day, as you call upon the Holy Spirit, "awaiting his coming in glory" (Eucharistic Prayer D). Doing so will ensure that you are a child of light and a child of the day.
Yours in Christ Who is coming,
From the desk of the Rector