Second Sunday in Advent (Mk 1:1-8)

The Advent Season is once again upon us but just exactly what is Advent? We often hear it described with words such as yearning, waiting, hoping, longing, and preparing, but yearning, waiting, hoping, longing, and preparing for what?

Advent Wreath

Advent Wreath

For many Advent is associated with the approaching Christmas holiday and means cleaning and decorating the home, shopping for presents, planning parties, writing letters, and mailing cards. We, who are generally busy with work, family, and everyday living, suddenly shift into overdrive, becoming frenzied, frazzled, and frantic. And that is what Advent is all about…right?

Well not quite; in fact, Advent is quite the opposite. Instead of speeding up, it is about putting the brakes on, slowing down and taking time to examine ourselves and to reappraise our relationship with God. It is a time to experience a quiet stillness, to almost hold our breath as we wait for the coming of our Lord and Savior. Quiet silence provides us with an opportunity to attain a deeper intimacy with others, with ourselves, and with God.

Once, during a confirmation class, I told my students that the closer and more intimate a relationship, the fewer words must be spoken. The more you must speak to one another; the less intimacy exists in the relationship. Talking to one another is important but silence conveys a deeper expression of trust, commitment, and love.

Perhaps Advent can be understood with an analogy. Imagine a time when you absolutely needed to be somewhere in 10 minutes and you realize that you have just enough time to get there. How do you feel as you sit at a stoplight waiting for it to turn green; precious seconds are slipping by and missing your appointment is becoming a distinct possibility? Are you anxious, nervous, impatient, hopeful? Are you anticipating the change, eager to get going again? Are you worried that you will miss your appointment; that you will arrive too late? If only you had anticipated that some delay might occur and left earlier.

Well, welcome to Advent, a time of anticipation, waiting, hoping, and longing. Advent means “Coming” and is a time when we should be preparing ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. But Jesus was born, lived, and died for us over 2000 years ago, so for what is all that anticipation, waiting, hoping, and longing supposed to be focused? How can we anticipate or long for an event that has already happened? It just doesn’t make sense—or does it?

In order to understand and celebrate Advent we must first determine the “coming” event. And there are three ways that Jesus comes to us; three comings of Jesus: past, present, and future, or as Archbishop Timothy Dolan writes “Our Lord comes to us in history, mystery, and majesty.”

The first coming of Jesus is in the past, it is history and there isn’t anything we can do to prepare for it since it has already taken place. But we can reflect on the impact of his birth, on God made man, and the gifts of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life we received more than 2000 years ago.

The second coming is in the present when He comes to us through the mysteries of prayer, grace, word, and sacrament. Jesus comes to each of us every day in countless ways. He tells us that he is in all of us and that when we help and care for our brothers and sisters we do it to Him. Look around you and see Jesus. The true miracle of Christmas is that every day a Savior is born.

And the third coming will be at the end of time when Christ will come in majesty to judge the living and the dead. A few weeks ago we heard Jesus tell his disciples how “When the Son of Man comes in his glory…” he will separate those assembled and judge them on how they treated others. We believe that Christ is coming again in glory, in majesty; shouldn’t we be preparing ourselves for when He comes again?

Advent is the perfect time to prepare ourselves for the comings of Jesus, past, present, and future. We should spend these weeks in quiet silence, reflecting on our Savior and preparing the sanctuary of our soul in order to welcome Him into our lives. During this season of Advent slow down and find some moments of quiet stillness. And, while in quiet stillness pray:

 “Come Lord Jesus, Come!

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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