TODAY’S READINGS: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.”
In an Advent pastoral letter to his diocese, the 15th-century bishop of Milan and later Saint Charles Borromeo wrote: “Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit . . . . This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets.” Note the saint is using the present tense: “Now is”; “this is.” Advent has a way of reaching into the past and making Christ’s coming a living reality in the present. It also, however, looks ahead. In a time of preparing to celebrate Christ’s first Advent we ready ourselves for his second—as Borromeo said in his letter: “The church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts.”
I share this with you from a resource I read this morning. Not sure who composed it but it brought to mind why I love this liturgical season of Advent so much. It is my favorite liturgical season. I just got back from celebrating the liturgy in my parish, and our pastor talked about the “waiting room” of Advent. I loved the image and will carry it forward throughout these next four weeks of waiting, trying to stay watchful, alert and vigilant. Waiting is never easy, and sometimes, it is in the midst of waiting that Christ becomes vividly present. I pray for all those who are waiting, that all our hearts might be blessed with unspeakable joy! I extend the challenge that I heard this morning at Mass, go forth and be the presence of Christ throughout these Advent days! I will be looking for you! Now is the time!