He is coming; The heavens proclaim it; He is here; Let us Rejoice!
St. Bernard tells us there are three comings of Christ; the first at His birth; (it was in peace that he came): “And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.” (Lk. 2: 13-14).
There always was that hope the Jews held so dearly that the Messiah would come as a great warrior sitting upon a white stallion with a sword in its scabbard ready to lead a huge army of believers and cut-down those who have always put down the Hebrews, and bring to fruition the prophecies that God would bring about justice for them. “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days, Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: The Lord our justice.” (Jer. 23: 5-6a). Prophesies such as this gave the Jews hope for a new rule in Israel.
Is it any wonder that the leaders felt disappointed when Jesus confronted them with a palm branch instead of a sword. When Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem, He arrived in the manner of; “See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” The warrior’s bow shall be banished and he shall proclaim peace to the nations.” Zac. 9: 9, 10b).
The second coming is for us now, awaiting the arrival within our hearts; “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him.” “He who fears God will do good, but something further has been said about the one who loves, that is, that he will keep God’s word. Where is God’s word too be kept? Obviously in the heart, as the prophet says: I have hidden your words in my heart, so that I may not sin against you.” The foregoing copied from a sermon of St. Bernard taken from the 2nd reading of the Office for Wednesday of the first week of Advent.
Bernard also says: “in this middle coming he comes in spirit which lies hidden and only the elect may see it in the eyes of faith.” The deacon, St. Ephrem, alerts our seeking as a way of waiting with excitement; and the prophecies found in Isaiah allows our minds to find within signs of change that God will promote when His Servant comes - as suffering yet forgiving and with total love. (see Is. 52-53).
Look to the heavens, search the earth, an event is on the horizon of life. See the great pronouncements of God; “ Yes, Jesus said; The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, “look, there he is, or look, here he is.” “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the in the days of the Son of Man.” “But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Lk. 17: 22 - 23, 26, 18: 8a).
The third coming is announced as part of the Eschatology (last things) within all the readings early in Advent. It is a time of preparation, an eventful era of waiting with bated breath and yet awaiting our redemption, a promise from the beginning of God’s Plan to reveal to us a life of love and peace, with Him forever.
God never changes, so His promise at the birth of Jesus was held in peace, as the heavenly host sang, and the teaching of Jesus throughout his ministry of forgiving those who sin against us, so it will be when Christ appears at the third coming; not in retribution and anger, but in love and forgiveness, in peace forever and ever.