History, Mystery, and Majesty

The Advent Season is once again upon us but do we really know what Advent is all about?

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.

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? 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?

Well, welcome to Advent, a time of anticipation, waiting, hope, 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 just where is all that anticipation, waiting, hope, and longing supposed come from? 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 what the “coming” event is. And there are three ways that Jesus Christ 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 is history, the past, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Christmas.) The second is in the present when He comes to us through the mysteries of prayer, grace, word, and sacrament. And the third coming of Christ will be at the end of time when Christ will come in majesty to  judge the living and the dead.

Three comings of Jesus and one Advent to prepare ourselves for all three. I’ll talk more about each of the comings of Christ over the next few weeks.

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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