Today is the first Sunday of Advent. Today we are called to look back with gratitude on all that has been and forward with hope to what will be. In looking back we ponder what has been called “the towering miracle of God’s visit to this planet” (J.B. Phillips, Good News: Thoughts on God and Man).
In looking forward we focus our attention on the second coming of Christ. That second coming is described in apocalyptic terms in today’s Gospel. The language is symbolic and picturesque. There is a sense of the suddenness of the end. We are told to be vigilant at all times and pray for strength.
As Patricia Sanchez writes in her reflection on today’s scripture:
Vigilance does not mean that we sit back and watch the cosmic horizon for signs, or that we withdraw from reality and pray to keep ourselves unsullied by the world. On the contrary, our annual remembrance of the Incarnation celebrates God’s desire to become immersed in every aspect of the human experience. To do justice to this great gift, we are also to immerse ourselves in the human condition. There we will find Christ.
Sanchez gives an example of someone who did immerse herself into the human condition – Dorothy Day. She recognized and welcomed Christ in the needy, the hungry, the homeless and the forgotten. She was convinced that prayer was more than words. She was certain that prayer can be the witness of one’s life, the work one does, the friendships one cultivates and the love one gives and receives from others. Through her prayer, she was able to recognize and serve Christ in his many comings among us.
Day’s biographer, William Miller shared an experience of her funeral in 1980, just after Thanksgiving. “At the church door, Cardinal Terence Cooke met the body to bless it. Just then, a demented person pushed through the crowd and, bending low, peered intently into the coffin. No one interfered because, as even the funeral directors understood, it was in such as this man that Dorothy had seen the fact of God” (Dorothy Day).
Sanchez goes on to say, “As we celebrate the comings of Jesus, the example of this good Christian woman and the spirit of the Advent season invite us to take stock of ourselves. Is our eye keen enough, our faith firm enough, our heart warm enough to recognize the face of Jesus in all our brothers and sisters and to serve their needs?” (Taken from Celebration)
Saturday, Dec. 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. It is a Holy Day of Obligation. We will have mass Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m.
Reconciliation Services offered in our deanery next week: Tuesday, 12/4, St. John LaLande (Blue Springs), Wednesday, 12/5, St. Bridget (Pleasant Hill), and Thursday, 12/6, St. Margaret (Lee’s Summit). Holy Spirit will have our service on Monday, 12/10. All services start at 7 p.m.