The Threefold Coming of Christ

The Threefold Coming of Christ

by Erica Tice

Today the Church begins its new year with the First Sunday of Advent. Coming only a week after the glory of the Solemnity of Christ, King of the Universe, we are given a solemn reminder to watch and wait expectantly for the Lord. What are we watching for, exactly? From a liturgical point of view, we watch for the coming of our Infant King, of the tiny Babe to arrive in the manger of our hearts in a few short weeks’ time. From an eschatological point of view, we await the coming of this tiny Babe in all His majesty and glory at the end of time, where we will see Him as He really is. The third point of view lies between the visible poles of Christ’s birth and His coming in glory. It is the invisible, hidden coming of Christ which intersects with our daily lives where He acts as our rest and consolation. This intermediary coming is the one that we watch for today and throughout this first week of Advent. Those who watch for this invisible coming of Christ come equipped with particular attitudes and dispositions as illustrated by Blessed John Henry Newman in his Parochial and Plain Sermons: “They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind, who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him, who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed, if they found that he was coming at once… This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present, and to live in what is unseen.” So let us watch and wait today and this week in the deep and hopeful silence which enveloped Our Blessed Mother as she carried our tiny Lord beneath her heart. Come Lord Jesus!

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 63.16b-17; 64.1, 3-8

Psalm 80

1 Corinthians 1.3-9

Mark 13.33-37