Young children grow more and more excited as Christmas approaches. We who are older may be less easy to excite, maybe even a bit resentful about all the hype and extra obligations the season brings. That’s unfortunate, because having dreams, hoping for something good to happen, keeps us humans loving life. Our Hebrew Scripture reading (Isaiah 2:1-5) is a vision of a beautiful future, something to look forward to. All nations shall stream toward a high mountain. And those journeying together are really good people, taught in the ways of the Lord and walking in his paths. There will be universal peace, and the abolition of war. We hear a voice inviting us to “come, let’s walk in the light of the LORD.” The word “Advent” is from the Latin, “to go,” go toward this beatific vision. Jesus built on Scriptures like this one when he talked with his disciples about “the kingdom.”
But then, O sigh, we have the Gospel. We are brought back into present time and told to wake up. We must “conduct ourselves properly,” Paul tells us, and “not in rivalry and jealousy.” We can’t put this off or we will be unprepared when, at a time we don’t expect, “the Son of Man will come.” The Gospel of Matthew was written around the year 85. Perhaps this Gospel passage reflected Matthew’s concern that the second generation of disciples was not as fervent as the first believers had been. We also become complacent after a while, so each year Advent brings us back to hope in the future, and to our responsibility for that future. Some years it is easier than others to become hopeful and resolved again. This year it seems more difficult to me, with the war in Ukraine and the unending pandemic. Let’s pray for one another this year, and for all the nations of our world, that we may all find hope and resolve.
— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia; photo by elPadawan, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0