Game shows are the most popular on television, the lottery is huge, casinos are cropping up everywhere and raffles are wildly popular. Why? Because the winner bypasses all the work and goes immediately to the big money. The season of Advent begins with a Gospel passage about the return of Jesus in glory (Luke 21:25-36). In preparation for celebrating Jesus’ first coming into the world we look forward to his second coming. As Christians, we look forward to full life with God. At times, like the game show, casino or lottery, we want to get to the glory so quickly that we can be tempted to bypass the challenges that face us in the meantime. Advent is about refocusing on what we need to do in the meantime.
Advent is a time to take another look at how we are caring for our relationship with God and with ourselves. Where are we with God these days? Perhaps it is time to pray more. Or deal with questions about our faith, the Church, a moral teaching, by seeking out a priest or a trusted spiritual advisor. How are we treating ourselves? Maybe it is time to see the doctor, eat healthier, exercise more regularly, get more sleep.
Looking at our relationships with others is another Advent possibility. Maybe there have been lacking in our attention to a spouse, child, friend or co-worker. Where is there a conflict that could use some resolution? Who might we need to challenge because we are observing some destructive behaviors? Who could use the company of our presence by a simple visit?
How about the bigger world out there that we do not think affects us much? Somebody else’s homelessness disturbs us as we realize that could be us. Terrible acts of violence affect us as we become more fearful, our children more disillusioned and our life-style more confined by tighter security. Where is our prayer and action needed?
Someone once said, “The pace of life doesn’t bother me, it’s that sudden stop at the end that worries me.” The sudden stop at the end is not so worrisome if we care for the steps along the way, in the meantime.
Together in faith,
Fr. Tuyen Nguyen, Vice-Rector Fr. Christopher Smith, Rector