Some years back I heard a truism in a homily. The priest said that he wanted to be buried with his fork. He had experienced which each of us likely have experienced at the end of a great meal, when our mom said, "Save your fork", we knew the best was yet to come like your favorite pie, or tort or the like.
Our 1st and 3rd readings today have the have the same message your mom had when she said, "Save your fork" the best was yet to come. The prophet Jeremiah predicted that the messiah was coming as "a King from the family of David." An honest just king who would provide hope to his people who had been exiled to Babylon. For each of us as young children we couldn't wait for Christmas, Jesus' birthday, that which Jeremiah predicted, because we felt the best was yet to come in the form of presents.
Today we know that the Messiah, Jesus has come and has provided us with God's truths and the ultimate example of how we are to live and we will be celebrating his birthday in just 4 weeks. We as well know that as Jesus told us, he will be coming back. That's great but now what? What are we to be doing?
We are to follow the message of an Oklahoma bus driver who had driven for over 900,000 miles without as accident. When he was asked how he could do that he provided a simple answer when he said, "I watched the road ahead and behind." He did what the Roman god, Janus could do because he had two faces, 2 sets of eyes like we always thought our mother had when we were doing something wrong. The god Janus and our mothers didn't need a rearview mirror like the bus driver did.
Advent is that time set aside for being like the bus driver and god Janus, a time to look back at the past event, the 1st coming of Jesus into our world as the Messiah and a time to look forward to his 2nd coming in glory. Today's Gospel and Paul's letter provide us a message informing how we are to live looking forward to Jesus' 2nd coming. We are to live as they taught us, loving, praying and keeping our eyes open both behind and ahead, especially ahead, so that we won't be too surprised.
The Gospel warns us that between now and Jesus' 2nd coming, "Strange things will happen ... because we know what to do." Jesus followed the same warning that prophets Isaiah, Ezekiel and Joel gave to their people warning them that strange things will happen but in the long run the good things they really wanted would come about. All three predicted that the sun would turn dark and the moon will lose its glow. In our days we better understand things of nature which 400 and 600 years before Christ and even at the time of Christ didn't. Things like earthquakes, tsunamis, eclipses of the sun. We as well know that the ultimate good occurrence we desire, Jesus' 2nd coming will happen but no one knows when and what we are to do in preparation for that is to save our forks, that is keep living as Jesus and Paul taught and lived to the best of our abilities and the Best will come. We will experience God's kingdom both here on earth and be provided the ultimate happiness in God's kingdom in heaven.