by Sister Ann Rehrauer
Several feasts on our Church calendar are preceded by a period of special preparation. This Sunday we begin Advent, which marks the beginning of a new Church year, a new liturgical time, and the four-week preparation period for Christmas.
These weeks invite us to evaluate our lives in light of the Scriptures and the ultimate purpose of our existence -- final union with God. When Christ comes at the end of time, or at the end of our lifetime on earth, we want to be alert and ready to meet him.
The passages offered for our reflection today describe that final time in humanity's history. I suspect that people throughout the last century read that description in Luke's Gospel and believed that they were living at that moment. World Wars I and II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and today the experience of terrorist attacks all fit the description of a time of "tribulation when powers are shaken, nations are in dismay, and many are frightened to death."
And in times like these, all of us long for the peace and security promised when Christ comes in his glory, to judge and rule the world with justice.
Our waiting for that time of fulfillment with hope and joy is active and intentional. We are invited to contribute to the coming of the Kingdom by conducting ourselves in a manner pleasing to God, practicing love for one another and for all, and being vigilant.
This Advent, as we light the candles of the Advent wreath, or open doors in Advent calendars with our children, or pray about the ancestors of Jesus on the Jesse Tree, may our actions and our quiet reflection help us to focus on the gift of Christ's first coming at Christmas, to recognize his daily coming in the people and events of our lives, and to long for his final coming in glory when we will experience the true justice and peace of God.
Thank you Sister Ann for the gentle reminder that we should "conduct ourselves in a manner pleasing to God". I have found the reality of doing so far harder than reading your words. Having said that, I have also found that me, our world, needs your kind of gentle reminder to keep us focused on our daily conduct, that it indeed is conduct pleasing to God. Thank you Sister.
Thanks, Ann for reminding us that love will overcome fear.
Wonderful and uplifting! We are preparing for a joyful time--whether it be the birth of Jesus over 2000 years ago or His second coming. As you said, "Our waiting for that time of fulfillment with hope and joy is active and intentional." AMEN!!!