A poem to ponder as we approach the end of Advent:
Do you know that Jesus is coming soon?
I can imagine your reaction: “Yes, of course I know. Christmas is less than three weeks away!”
I’m not referring to Christ’s birth (well, not yet). I’m referring to His Second Coming. We hear a great deal about this event in Scripture. In the Gospel reading for this past Sunday, the Lord describes what it will be like when He comes again.
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28).
Jesus provides these details because He’s trying to prepare us, not to scare us. He tells us what will take place, but He doesn’t tell us when.
“But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32-33).
This past Sunday, the first reading at Mass was from the Book of Deuteronomy. Moses said to the people,
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (6:4-5).
In the Gospel, we heard Jesus echo the words of Moses. Jesus said,
“The first [commandment] is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).
What does it mean to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength?