From the Pastor's Desk

 

Rev. Paul Ring

My Dear Friends in Christ,

A story is told of the late Cardinal Cushing when he told one of his staff to hold all appointments and calls. When he was asked what they should do if Jesus were to appear at the door, his response (reportedly) was: "Look busy!" Today the Church begins its Ad-vent journey under the banner of "watchfulness". This is challeng-ing when all around us, people are distracted by the sights and sounds of Christmas. Perhaps you've felt that "pull" yourself and even given into it. If this is the case, no worries! Our Church gives us a four week Season in which to prepare for the coming of the Christ Child in the proper way.

As we enter into Advent, we "begin at the end", so to speak. Jesus, in today's gospel, is speaking of the end times, using the image of the master returning home, perhaps at a time that might catch us unaware. This image is appropriate to our Advent journey, for Ad-vent is a time of "two-fold waiting" – waiting for the Christ Child, born from the line of David, and the waiting for Jesus as the King of Glory who calls us home to fullness of life in the Kingdom (of Heaven). This waiting can be, for many, a test of faith (and pa-tience, if you are of a certain youthful age, waiting for Christmas to arrive!). We want to go to heaven, but we also want to live life to the fullest here on earth. The thing to remember about our lives on earth is that they are but a foretaste and promise of what awaits us in the Kingdom. We can wait (as is evidenced in today's gos-pel), but we should be ready, here and now, for Jesus' call to join Him for all eternity. This is the sum of the "two-fold waiting".

Advent may seem like the "same old, same old". After all, it comes at relatively the same time of year, has many of the same "themes" ("watch". "wait", "be vigilant") and ends up with the same "goal" (namely, to be ready to welcome Jesus as the Christ Child and the King of Glory). We would do well to not fall into the same routines. I would invite us to try something different, to move out of our "comfort zone". If you haven't followed an Ad-vent calendar, try it this year by following the daily readings and prayers. If you haven't made/kept an Advent wreath for your home, now's the time. I would further encourage you to WAIT. It's easy enough to get "caught up" in the hullabaloo of the prepa-rations for Christmas. These are important and need to be tended to, but not at the expense of our peace of mind or our sanity. So many of us "go overboard" with Christmas and its preparations that we fail to see the opportunity that Advent gives us to "pace ourselves" in these four weeks.

May we take this time of the Advent Season to prepare ourselves, spiritually, for the coming of Christ. Whether it is Christ's coming as the Christ Child or as the King of Glory, may Christ find us ready to welcome Him into our hearts, our homes, and our world. May we give Christ His due, giving Jesus the well-deserved wel-come that we would a King. Jesus is our King, enrobed not in a royal garment, but in ordinary swaddling clothes. May we go to the manger in a few weeks, having spent this time preparing for that moment in salvation history when "God so loved the world that He gave us His Only Begotten Son" (Jn 3:16).

A Blessed Advent to All,

Fr. Paul

 


 

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