This weekend we begin our Advent journey, a journey which ends at a stable in Bethlehem. Advent is the season of the church in which we prepare to welcome the Lord Jesus who has stepped into human history. It is a time to look forward to his coming in the humility of being born of a woman, a woman He created, born just like each of us. It is a season of wonder, without even asking, God has given us the gift of life, the gift of our unique body and mind, our families and the situations in which we slowly but surely make our way back to our loving god.
The most surprising gift is the gift of Gods own Son, Jesus, who became human. He is the one we concentrate and prepare for during our Advent journey. Jesus was not satisfied simply to become human 2000 years ago, but found a way to remain with us even after his death, resurrection and ascension. Jesus the living and risen one, continues to live within us through the power of the Holy Spirit and unites with us as we receive his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
The prophets of the Old Testament proclaimed the Messiahs’ coming and looked to the day when he would come. Today 2000 years after the ascension we are to be watching and waiting for the Lord with the hope of encountering him. In our Gospel this weekend from Luke, Jesus urges us to be vigilant, to be ready to welcome him at the moment of his return. We cannot allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by all that is happening in the world and around us, but most live with concern for others, following Jesus’s example he set during his lifetime; examples of compassion, charity and love. The person who continues to look to the second coming of Jesus is not overpowered by discouragements, by the lack of hope, by disappointments, and are able to sidestep the vanities with which the world is filled.
Last year during the 8 days before Christmas we began a beautiful Advent tradition of a Christmas Novena here at St. Agnes leading up to the celebration of our Lord’s birth on Christmas. Plan on attending one evening or more and let the Christmas Novena help make this a truly spiritual time.