Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert.” (Matthew 13:33)
On this first Sunday of Advent I recall the many years of teaching grade school children that Advent is about the three comings of Jesus …in history, mystery, and majesty. It is a time when we prepare to celebrate the feast of Christmas and the gift of the Incarnation when God became one of us to show us how to love. It is also the time when we look forward to the coming of Christ in all glory at the end of time, the feast we celebrated last Sunday at the end of our liturgical year. But what about this coming in mystery? Yes, it is about preparing to receive Jesus in the mystery of the Eucharist and allowing him to become part of our very being.
But as I reflect this year, I realize that my understanding of this “middle coming” has continued to grow throughout the years. How do I prepare for Christ’s coming in mystery in 2020 in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of so much unrest and discord? Perhaps one small way is to look for Christ each day in the persons I encounter. It is easy to see Christ in the compassion of the health care workers who are so selflessly giving of themselves to care for others. It is heartening to see Christ’s presence in so many people reaching out to feed the hungry and provide shelter and clothing to those in need. I am also called to see and embrace Christ in those with whom I disagree, those I do not understand or those I fear.
My prayer this Advent is, “Jesus, I believe that you came among us over 2000 years ago to show us we are loved and to teach us how to love; I believe you are with us now in every moment of our lives; and I believe you will come again to gather us all as one once we have learned to love one another as you love us. Please open my eyes to see you in each person I encounter this day. Open my heart to reach out to them in love.”
Some say Advent is a time of waiting, a time of preparing for Christmas and that it is! But we know who God is calling us to be and what we are called to do…LOVE!
So what are we waiting for? Let us get out there and live it today and everyday!