Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. You see more amazon trucks than Walgreens stores. One of the many features that people love about Amazon is that you know when your items will arrive and receive a picture to prove that your item was delivered. We live in a world of knowing, planning and calculating.
Today we mark the beginning of Advent, a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus. Advent means “arrival” or a coming into place.” We mark this holy season with the color of purple, create an advent wreath with candles for the 4 weeks of anticipating and waiting for the birth of Jesus. Everywhere there are decorations, songs, and lights reminding us that Christmas is coming soon.
As the world emphasizes material goods and festive celebrations, as Christians, we are invited to a time of prayerful anticipation. Christ’s birth is the center of Christmas, not Santa (sorry Santa). The Advent season invites us to step away from what can be a frenzied time to consider how we commemorate the birth of Jesus, one of the holiest times in Christian faith. It is also a time to reflect on the return of Jesus at His second coming.
Unlike Amazon, we don’t know when Jesus is coming, when he will arrive and how close he is to being here. How are we to see the signs that he is here? “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come…” Mark 13: 33. This passage from today’s scripture puts me on edge. Is my heart ready for his coming? Do I have my life in order that he could come at this moment? Have I fulfilled what he has asked of me? These questions draw me to deeper silence and prayer during Advent Even within this busy ministry time of the year, living the beatitudes and trying to fulfill the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, God is calling me to spend time with him.
This week I witnessed Jesus in a profound way. One of our parishioners had to bury his wife of 72 years. At one point, he walked down the aisle with his eyes closed ready to bid farewell to the love of his life. I knew in my heart the beautiful Jesus mosaic with arms wide open will embrace his suffering, welcome his beloved home to his heart, and strengthen him during this difficult time. Yes, Advent has begun, but it should never end. We are always waiting, anticipating and longing for the Lord to arrive in our world, and to bring healing in our communities and families, and in our hearts. The JOY of waiting is part of his coming. Join me in making this advent journey one of JOY in not knowing but embracing that Jesus is amongst us in each other. See you at Mass. Blessed Advent!