An active preparation time

11-29-2020Pastoral ReflectionsFr. Brian

Have you noticed how other people, maybe even you, are constantly late and keep people waiting? Have you noticed other people, maybe even you, who are on time or ready even a little early? People who are constantly late are either unintentionally or intentionally expressing that other people and their time do not matter. “You can simply wait for me as if you and your time are not of value” is often the un-thought thought. We called these folks “thoughtless or obtuse.” We all are late at some point and may have a valid excuse such as sudden responsibilities, un-planned traffic due to an accident, children, “others,” or whatever as an excuse. Some people always seem to take advantage of a real or vague excuse and are always late. Some folks excuse themselves by saying “Well, I am always late.” They do not understand that being chronically late is a serious flaw because, in fact, it expresses their lack of valuing others. We have now begun the season of Advent. We know this is called the Season of Waiting. This waiting, however, is different.

We actually know that the Lord Jesus has already come in the flesh and that we will be celebrating this truth on December 25, Christmas Day, the Feast of the Incarnation. So we are not waiting because Jesus is late, we are waiting so that we may be prepared for his coming again. This waiting during Advent is actually meant to be a time we set aside to be prepared for the Celebration of His Birth on Christmas. We need to get ourselves ready to mark this very special coming.

Our church sanctuary is now decorated with a different liturgical color; we now use purple. We also have a four-candle Advent wreath in our sanctuary. Our decorations overall are minimalistic. If our church space did not look different from last week, we may not realize that our scriptural readings this weekend are to indicate the beginning of a new church year. We would think that we are simply continuing to retell the story of the Life and Message of Jesus.

The passage from the prophet Isaiah, our first reading, contains some of the most inspiring and awe filling scriptural lines of the Bible. Our reading starts with Isaiah reminding God of his covenant with us and begging his help. More importantly, Isaiah also speaks to us and loudly re-minds us of our part of the covenant and pushes us to both vigilance and flexibility. Isaiah tells us plainly that we must have an attitude of hope and that we must be prepared to be reshaped in-to God’s children. We are to be watchful and be working on making ourselves ready for the Lord during this special time.

In the second reading, Saint Paul picks up the theme of hopeful joy. Paul writes to us to remind us that we have been blessed with wonderful gifts, even the greatest of gifts, God’s own Son. St. Paul is telling us that Christ has come and we are no longer waiting for Him, the Messiah, the Chosen One.

Mark’s Gospel passage is to help us to remember to be vigilant and watchful in our lives. Jesus is not late, but we must pay attention to living lives that are reflective of our faith.

None of us like to wait, just ask those of us who are usually on time and spend a lot of time waiting for others. However, this “waiting” that we have during this season of Advent is far different. This time is not to be spent idly standing around while waiting for someone to arrive who is always late and is oblivious to us. It is time to be spent trying to live a better Christian Way of Life. This waiting is an active preparation time for us. Jesus has already arrived, and now we wait to celebrate again this great truth on Christmas Day. Yes, He will come again and we will be prepared if we take this Season of Advent seriously.