Who does Jesus call you to be?
by Sister Ann Rehrauer
I just finished a few days of retreat, which I like to take in November, around Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. This is the perfect time for me to do a life review – looking back with gratitude on the blessings of the past year, and a time of resolution as we begin a new Church year. January 1st may be the beginning of the civil new year, but Advent ushers in the liturgical “new year” as we tell again the story of our salvation through the lens of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
With another year of COVID behind us – we are tired of safety measures, we had hoped we’d be in a new place after the vaccine roll-out; and we still struggle with imposed isolation that has felt like “forever.” And yet, there have been blessings in the midst of this. And since it looks like this way of life will be with us for a while, it might be good to focus on the blessings of the experience and the lessons we’ve learned about ourselves as we get ready to “start over.” When I get discouraged, I find that reading Lamentations 3:19-24 sometimes helps.
You might think that the Scriptures for the first Sunday of a new year would begin our salvation story at the beginning – in the book of Genesis. Instead, the readings this week focus on the end of the story, the fulfillment with Christ’s final coming at the end of time.
A friend of mine had a favorite saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Otherwise, begin your journey with the destination in mind. Look at where you want to go – and then figure out how to get from here to there.”
This Advent I invite us to think about who God wants us to be when we get to the end of life’s journey – and then plot a course on how to get there – how can you and I be that image of God, with and for, the people with whom we live and work.
Sunday’s readings are a great balance for new beginnings: Jeremiah reminds us that God’s promises are always fulfilled. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians (and us) to continue in holiness, as we have already begun. And Jesus reminds us that it won’t be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is. Have a blessed Advent journey.