© Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church 2010

First Sunday of Advent

December 3, 2017

If we've ever taken inventory of how much time we spend waiting, we can be grateful that here in the Eastern Sierra at least we don't spend too much time waiting in traffic.  Apart from that though, we do end up waiting for other things such as for the coffee to perk, for breakfast to be ready, for babies to be born, for medical reports to come in and for other news that will potentially change our lives. 
And then, Advent shows up and we wait some more. All the things that fill the season of Advent, such as Mass and holiday music, decorations and parties beckon to us in this annual journey that ultimately transports us from our world of waiting, to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The prophet Isaiah new all about waiting and expectation.  He knew the longing the people of Israel had been experiencing for thousands of years, as they looked to the horizon of their faith for the long anticipated Messiah. But like a seed germinating, silent, buried, quiet and unseen, God is also waiting for us, to realize His will in our lives and to accomplish the task we were called to achieve in His name, God’s higher purpose.
In the first reading the prophet Isaiah speaks of people who have wandered away from their holy purpose and relationship with God. He calls to God to correct this error of the people Of Israel and begs God to bring them back to faith.  St. Paul speaks of the early Christian community in Corinth and how in patient faith they anticipate the further revelation of God in their lives.
In the Gospel, St. Mark recalls how Jesus tells his disciples to be watchful and alert for they do not know the time in which the Master will return.  He is trying to help them realize and understand that a time will come when they will be called to bear witness to their lives of faith, and for those moments, they must be prepared.  Looking to a broader understanding of this gospel passage, it was written in reference to Jesus approaching the holy city of Jerusalem for the last time before his crucifixion.  He is telling His disciples to be ready, faithful and alert, because just as He is going to His salvific death, so in time they will follow him in life, faith, suffering and death and that in preparation for this event, they must understand and live the faith they have professed as disciples of Jesus.  Therefore, He tells them, keep awake. 
In all of these readings, there is the lesson or admonition, to wait. And so, the question needs to be asked, what is our Lord asking us to do as we wait for his arrival at the end of time and as we await the coming celebration of Christmas?
As a loving Father, God waits for us to see what He sees, to here what He hears and to believe about ourselves what God already knows and to fulfill the holy plan that God has set aside for each of us individually in life and faith. God calls us not to sit and wait, but to actively live our faith as we anticipate His coming at the end of time and as we anticipate the Coming celebration of Christmas. 
Our lives are filled with moments of waiting.  Advent’s invitation is to wait and watch in an active faith as we celebrate this holy season of anticipation.  Because our Lord tells us that we know not the time of the Masters return, we wait and watch, taking up the work to which he calls us, letting our work be an expression of our longing desire to encounter Him and letting our labor have as its focus, God’s love and its purpose, God’s grace.  Therefore, let us wait, work and worship in holy and  purposeful anticipation.