Updated: Dec 23, 2019
This last Sunday was the beginning of Advent as I am sure most of you know by now with the change in liturgical colors, Advent wreaths, and social media posts. I could not wait, in fact I had been looking forward to this since October with the busyness of finally launching His Girl Sunday I just needed the calm and focus that this time brings. So I get to Mass, completely in the zone, ready to focus on preparing for Baby Jesus and the Gospel scared me to pieces! "Two men will be out in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, one will be left." (MT 24:40-41) The first thing that came to mind was that brilliant cinematic experience of a movie "Left Behind" (2014) starring Nicholas Cage. When I snapped out of that horrible memory I was brought back to the unexpected Gospel and I realized the irony. Wow, okay Lord, I get it, my life is just like the message from the first Sunday of Advent, always getting lost in the chaos, appointments, work, and obligations. While those things are inevitable I had just been caught spiritually napping! Of course I pray daily, fulfill my Catholic obligations, bring tradition into our home, teach Theology, etc. but that isn't what this Gospel is referring to. It's easy for me to be aware of Christ in those moments that are clearly and intentionally dedicated to Him, but what about the rest of my life and the many things that happen in any given day when I am completely immersed in things of this world or my own life? So I am clinging to these two words this Advent and hopefully creating a self awareness for the time thereafter...
Stay awake in the hope of waiting, not just for the great mystery of the incarnation which we fix our attention on, but for the parousia! If that doesn't frighten you then I don't know what does, but I'll say this, nothing focuses my attention or motivates me more to get myself together than this message. Stop messing around, for lack of better words, my personality needs a kick in the pants sometimes! This isn't just a season of pumpkin spice lattes and Christmas movies, glad you can't see what's sitting on my desk, but a time to rededicate myself to an intimate relationship with the Savior. Since Advent begins the new liturgical year I have taken myself to prayer many times to decide on Catholic new years resolutions, a virtue or two which I make a point to think about in daily self reflection and one prayer habit that my soul an sanity needs. For a couple of years now I have tried to do this every quarter and I have found it to be very helpful in my journey. How very counter intuitive to our popular culture to have a season of peace, silence, and reflection and yet how much more joyous the season of Christmas because of it. Much like the waiting in this life for the joyous Christmas that will be Heaven.
We are Advent people, longing in expectation and hoping for Jesus Christ's second coming.