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Welcome, thief!

Updated: Feb 28, 2020

1st Sunday of Advent, Year A

  • 9-12 year olds

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time of preparing for the feast of God coming into the world as one of us. God, who knows what it means to be cold and hungry, who knows what it is like to play sports, to laugh with friends, to be nervous before a test. God, who knows us. It is a good feast. To prepare, we change the colour of the season to purple.

We notice that the reading today is from chapter 24 of Matthew, towards the end of Jesus' life on earth, and he is speaking about when he comes again. We are not reading about his first coming, but about his second.

Jesus has already come into the world, died and is risen, never to die again. He has already redeemed the world and we live in the time of Redemption. But the world is not yet as God wants it. There is still suffering and pain, sickness and death. There is still sin. It is not yet Parousia. There is still work yet for us to do.

Jesus says,

But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.

A strange image, isn't it--Jesus as a thief stealing into a house! That must have woken up people who were dozing! A contrast to make people listen.

Be ready, Jesus says, because you do not know when to expect God at your door. In other words, this is the time to build your relationship with God. This is the time to work with God to build the kingdom. What we do matters, and the time to do it is now.

Okay, got it. We can all go home now ;)

The more I think about this image, though, the more I wonder. If the owner had known when the thief was coming, he would have protected the house from invasion. He would have said, these things are mine, you may not steal in here. But Jesus is the one who is coming, so Jesus is the thief, right? Don't we want him to break into our homes? Don't we want him here with us? Is Jesus saying that if we knew when he is coming, we would try to stop him???

We all have a tendency to divide our time into different boxes. This is my time for my friends. This is my time for sports. This is my time for watching YouTube. This is my time for family. This is my time for God. Different boxes, different homes for different things.

Maybe what Jesus is doing is trying to steal into all of these things. To climb through the window and be with us when we are with our friends. To steal onto the court or field or ice and play sports with us. To sneak in beside us as we search the Internet.

And as our families play and pray, eat and laugh, struggle and fight, Jesus is--unexpectedly, maybe even uninvited--right there with us, living every moment with us. A little taste of Parousia here today.

Maybe it is best that we do not know when and how he comes so we do not lock the door on him.

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