Saturday, December 5, 2009

Joy, Longing, and Mission

(2 Advent, C)

“I am confident of this,” St. Paul assures us, “that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” This is our whole Advent spirituality, brothers and sisters. We are those in whom God has begun the “good work.” We have been baptized into the death and Resurrection of Christ, confirmed in his Holy Spirit, and each Sunday we are further configured to the Sacrifice of Christ here by our prayerful participation here at Mass.

This “good work” is accomplished in us by the God who is always arriving in our daily life. Advent reminds us that our God is precisely that: adventitious, showing up at certain and graced moments. Theologically, this is because God is eternal; there is nothing God was doing yesterday that he is not doing today, and nothing God will be about at the end of time that is not already with us—though obscurely—in the present. In our own limited consciousness as temporal creatures, the closest thing to eternity in our experience is the now, the present moment in which we always find ourselves. And this is where God is revealed; gently arriving in our lives through the call to prayer, the love and care of people around us, our wonder at the beauty of creation, and in many other ways as well.

The spirituality of this Advent season is to find the deep part of our hearts that longs for the fullness of this revelation of God. God has begun this good work in us, and caught our souls for this path. We who have had this taste of the grace of God arriving in our lives are called to “prepare the way” for God’s saving goodness to find a home more and more in this world. This is the work by which we take up and imitate the ministry of John the Baptist. We are called, in the words of the classic Advent hymn, On Jordan’s Bank, to “make straight the way of God within.” One of the intercessions in the Liturgy of the Hours caught me earlier this week in this regard, “Bring low the mountains of our pride, and fill up the valleys of our weakness.” This is a good example of the ascetic work we are called to during the Advent season: we know that the Lord Jesus seeks to be born into our hearts and make a home in our lives, so let us sweep his new home clean and prepare a fitting place for Him.

Advent comes to us as a joy, as a longing, and as a mission. We recall our joy at being those within whom God has begun his good work of inaugurating the new creation. As Baruch puts it, we rejoice that we are “remembered by God.” We long for the fulfillment of this great work, which God has begun in a mysterious and obscure in the birth of our Savior, and in a public and definitive way in his Resurrection. For those of us who have the grace of his knowledge of Truth, and of God’s purpose, we are called to prepare His way within, and to call the world to recognize the arriving grace of God, until the destined Day when “all flesh will see the salvation of God.”


for narnia said...

happy 2nd Sunday of Advent, Fr. C! and, thanks so much for your inspiring homily. i like what St. Paul reminds us of in the second reading - "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." for me, this is a good reminder to continue to remain open to the Holy Spirit in our lives. Advent really is our everyday, daily life, where we always should be preparing the way and making room for the Lord God in our lives. the more we make room for HIM, the more the Holy Spirit will use us as His instruments. this is really a beautiful way to live and it can bring us so much peace and contentment - a peace that the world cannot give. the Priest (our friend, Fr. Eddie) who came to say a couple of Masses at St. T's this morning said in his homily that "Advent is a time for cleaning up our act." the part that touches me most about your homily is the fact that we have to prepare the way for God "WITHIN" - this is one of the most meaningful way to spend Advent. PEACE! ~tara t~

Adoro said...

I wish I could hear your homilies in person...there's so much I need to HEAR as well as to read.


Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I really enjoyed this homily and took much to heart. I am glad that God will continue what He began because I love what He began!