If Advent is about preparing for the celebration of Jesus’ birth, then why is our Gospel this week focused on the Second Coming? Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming.
Odd as this choice of reading seems, in fact, the one event prepares the other: Jesus’ Second Coming will complete the work begun by his birth in Bethelem, and just as we long for the joys of Christmas, Advent is also a time for us to nourish our longing for the fullness of God’s salvation. We see this illustrated in Christian art that depicts the swaddled baby Jesus wrapped in what looks like a funeral shroud: Jesus was born to die – to die for us.
What to do while we’re waiting for his coming? The psalm’s refrain offers one suggestion: Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. Advent is a time for turning back to God, for putting God first in our lives. And if we can truly place our lives in God’s hands, then he will act through us: we are the clay and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hands.