November 28, 2018
With this Advent Season, we the Church move into a new liturgical year, Year C, when most of the Sunday Gospels come from the Gospel of Luke. As we enter this Advent, we will experience it as going by very fast. In our age of Future Shock and Technopoly, it will be over even before we even realize it. We need to plan to use this time of grace well – otherwise it will disappear before we even realize it!
“Advent” means “arrival, approach, the anticipated coming of Christ” (Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus) We celebrate here the fact that God comes to us! God is very hungry for us and it is almost as if God is so “lonely” that He/She hungers so much for us and to be with us, i.e. God does not want to be alone without us. What a tremendous, fabulous love!
God came to us in the past; God comes, i.e., continues to come, to us in the present; and God will come to us definitely at the end of time. The big question is what do we need to be and to do to make our welcome real and deep. How do we become hungry enough to want this with all our being?
One good way to do this is to start practising mindfulness. This means purposively focusing on the present moment, the moment in which God always and truly comes to us. This is quite the challenge because of the shortness of the Advent Season and because there is so much calling for our attention, e.g. preparing for Christmas, family gatherings, celebrations of all kinds, etc. Mindfulness does not differ that much from traditional Christian meditation which is a desperate human need in our age and society.
“Luke’s Gospel [during Year C] highlights God’s designs as the reversal of human values and expectations. God demonstrated a preferential love for the poor, the afflicted and the outcast as the starting point for summoning all of humanity to salvation.” (Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, S.J.)
Today’s first reading from Jeremiah proclaims God as our righteousness. The second reading from 1 Thessalonians tells us to love each other thoroughly and we will then be blameless before God. And the Gospel points graphically to the fullness of God’s coming at the end of the universe. So be it!
“To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.”