Come, Lord Jesus!

Emily Glicksman // Scripture: A Mother's Lens


December 4  

Sometimes, we mothers find ourselves overwrought with the present age, calling upon the Lord to come back soon and take us to heaven! Maybe the children have pushed all the buttons, or we are underslept and overwhelmed, or the world around us just seems so depraved and hopeless. In these moments, our longing for heaven is so heavy that it pains us. 

And yet, we are asked to hold this great desire for heaven in our hearts while knowing that its time has not yet come. 

Today’s first reading and responsorial psalm stoke the fires of our longing for the second coming. We are told that when the Lord returns, he will judge with justice and bring punishment upon the wicked. His second coming will bring the harmony of all creatures with the most vulnerable young child playing by the lair of the venomous adder. Being alive in this age, and being a mother in any age, makes one long for a place such as this.

As the readings progress, the beautiful vision of heaven is tempered a bit as Paul reminds us that there is work yet to be done. Before (hopefully!) enjoying the peace of heaven, we must first promote harmony here on earth, loving each other as Christ loves each of us. We can’t just sit around and long for heaven. We have to act; we have to love. 

Matthew’s Gospel further clarifies what we are asked to do. In order to truly love and promote lasting harmony, we must also turn from sin. Those who don’t heed John the Baptist’s call to repentance will face Jesus’ winnowing fan which will separate wheat from chaff. If the terrible fate of the chaff isn’t sufficient to remind us that longing for heaven isn’t enough, I don’t know what is! 

So while the Liturgy of the Word begins by wooing us with images of the peace of heaven, it ends with a stark image of what happens to those who don’t also act. We will always have moments of terrible longing for the peace of heaven, but these moments can’t distract us from the hard work of loving the people God has given us, the work of turning from vice, and encouraging our people to do the same. If we allow our longing to motivate, rather than distract us, we can someday hope to be singing together in heaven, with one voice: Glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 15:6).

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