November 28, 2021
We’ve begun Advent, a new liturgical year. This weekend's Scriptures invite us to embrace a spiritual posture of alertness, being aware of the signs of the times, understanding the nearness of salvation. In short, as we embark upon the season of Advent, we are called upon to appreciate just how suddenly the day of the Lord can appear. His is a plan for a world redeemed. He promised to come, and he came. His advent among us was the most clear manifestation of grace and "clear calling" to authentic living and righteousness that the world has ever known. What a clarion opportunity for a fresh outlook and invigoration to our lives of faith as we begin a new liturgical year!
Currently, in the light of our present religious practice, are we really acknowledging the truth of what His first historical coming among us meant? Do we experience His daily coming to us in mystery, and live accordingly? Do we await with vigilance the fulfillment of His plans for a world redeemed, when He comes again in glory? The season of Advent gets us in touch with the "three" comings of Christ: He came in history, He comes to us in mystery, and he will come to us one day in glory. Have we seen it, do we live it, and are we orienting our lives toward the preparation required to greet Him when He comes again? Just as the last liturgical year ended with a calling to acknowledge Christ as King and to live for Him always, so, too, as we begin a brand new liturgical year of grace this weekend, the believing community is likewise invited to have its eyes open, fostering a posture of alertness, so that in all times and moments, we may be witnessing to Christ with our lives until He comes again. This "ever-ready" vigilance is nothing new. Nor is it something to be afraid of. A genuine relationship with the Lord of glory is the foundation for healthy Christian living. Inspired by the story of Jewish longing for the coming of Christ, we meaningfully recognize what God has done in history. We recall the story of how He prepared the earth for the coming of Christ, and how in the fullness of time, His plan came to be. We also live for Him in the here and now. In the wake of the grace of His first coming among us as man, we are a people who are ever-different. With the eyes of faith we now recognize the presence of the One who is with us even still. Finally, we likewise stand in a posture of hope and anticipation for what will be by His grace. This "three-fold" spiritual posture is the foundation for what we will warmly recall in a few weeks when we celebrate the annual commemoration of our Lord's Nativity. Far from being a mere nostalgic celebration, the entire Advent and Christmas cycle call us to recognize what now IS by the grace of God: how God is Emmanuel, God with us. Yes. "The days are coming." Will you be alert enough to notice?