Fr Bob Writes – Nov 30, 2014

This weekend is the first Sunday of Advent. During this time, we are reminded to focus, not on the first coming of Christ, at Christmas, but on his second coming, at the end of time. When will this Second Coming of Jesus take place? As the apostles continued staring up to the skies following Jesus’ ascension, angels appeared and told them, “This Jesus who has been taken up from you will return in the same way you have seen him going up to heaven” (Acts 1:11). Early Christians believed Jesus’ return would take place within a few years, if not months. That’s why those who joined the first Christian community at Jerusalem sold what they had and put their money in the common pot. They felt sure that Jesus would return before the money ran out. The passing time was a challenge both to their financial situation and their faith. If Jesus wasn’t returning, something which the early preaching had led them to believe, how true were the other things they had been taught about him?  Paul took up a collection for the Jerusalem community during his missionary journeys. He wanted to support the faith of this community in the return of Jesus. Mark wrote his first gospel, the first of the four to be written, as a member of Peter’s missionary team. The teaching of the return of Jesus undoubtedly was part of Peter’s preaching of the message of Jesus Christ. Twenty-some years after the ascension, however, Christian leaders were wrestling with Jesus’ “delay.” They thought back to any indications Jesus may have given them. What they recalled was included in passages such as today’s gospel selection. We don’t know when Jesus will return, so keep alert on watch and ready at all times.