Dear Friends in Christ,
Again we begin another Advent when we prepare and reflect on the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time and the Judgement we will all face. The last eight days of Advent, beginning on December 17, we prepare for the celebration of the first coming of the Messiah in his Incarnation and birth. Looking at the scripture readings, spiritual reflections, art and music of Advent and Christmas, the emphasis is placed on Jesus as the Messiah and Savior. The name Jesus (Heb: Jeshua) means “God Saves”. The title Messiah (Heb: Messiach, Grk: Christos) means “anointed one”. The Messiah promised by God to the chosen people is the savior. The problem that we run into today and perhaps in every era is that in our arrogance and hubris many of us do not believe that we need to be saved. Not realizing the need for salvation makes desiring a savior problematic. If people don’t think they need a savior, Jesus, the Messiah of God, diminishes in people’s minds and hearts and lives. He becomes a stranger or simply a nice guy, a moral teacher. A perfect world or a world that lives under the delusion of perfection does not need a savior or to be saved. The saving action of Jesus on the Cross and the victory of the resurrection make little sense in a world that is already perfect. Yet, our world is far from perfect. Despite the claims of many, all of us need to be saved and we need the salvation that Jesus brings.
So what is it that you need Jesus for in your life? What are those areas of your life that you cannot conquer or control? What are the longings of your heart that long to be fulfilled? What are the sufferings or struggles that you have difficulty carrying or coping with? All of us have within in us a longing, a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy. Our weakness cries out for God. As St. Augustine so beautifully prayed:
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace… Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
This Advent, turn to Jesus. Open your heart to him. Ask him once again to be your savior. Give him your sins, your weaknesses, your struggles. Entrust your cares, heartaches, disappointments and failures to him. Open your heart to his mercy and grace. Ask Jesus again to come to you and be your strength. This Advent, thank God for the gift of His Anointed One in your life. Praise God for the salvation Jesus brings not only to the whole world but to you and your family. This Advent, between the first coming of Jesus 2000 years ago and his Second Coming at the end of time, invite and allow Jesus to come to you anew.
Have a holy Advent!
In pace Christi,