Today we start a new Church year with the first Sunday of Advent. It is also the “year of Mark,” in which we will hear from his Gospel during Ordinary Time.
We all know Advent is a time of preparation. But, for what should we be preparing?
Our culture tells us we are preparing to celebrate Christmas, in religious terms the birth of Christ, His first coming into the world. Our faith tells us that we are REMEMBERING that first coming while preparing to celebrate His second.
When will the second coming happen? In recent Gospels Jesus told us that no one knows, except His Father. He tells us to be prepared, but how should we do it? The answer is by living in such a way as to bring about the Kingdom of peace, justice, and equality NOW, today, in Wauwatosa or wherever we are.
Jesus told us He HAD established the Kingdom. It is here, now, it is growing among us. It is not a future event. The commitment of a baptized Christian is to live the values of that Kingdom in daily life, so that we are helping the Kingdom to grow.
When we pray “Thy Kingdom come” in the Our Father, we follow it with “Thy will be done.” In other words, we are not just wishing that the Kingdom come, but we are committing ourselves to make it happen. The Father’s will is that we relate to each other, and especially the most needy, as did Jesus. Then we are helping the Kingdom to arrive in its fullness.
I invite us to reflect this Advent on how we are doing at bringing the Kingdom alive in our daily lives. The Lord knows we will never be perfect, but the important thing is that we are growing.
Please note in your calendar two special Advent events that can help us in our struggle to grow. One is an Advent Reflection at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 1st. There will be a short presentation, quiet reflection time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction. The second is an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of
Reconciliation at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 15th, when there will be three priests available for private confessions. I invite you to take advantage of these opportunities to grow during this season of Advent. They will be conducted in a safe manner. God bless.