Advent is our opportunity to do the work to realize that Christ’s return is really about the “now” in our lives. We know that we are “hurrying” Christ’s coming in Advent (St. Peter); but we would spend our time as Christians more responsibly concerning ourselves with His return at the end of time! In all practicality, we know how difficult it is to prioritize the end of the world with the glamour and glitz of the holy days, forgetting the now of Christ in the every moments of our busy days. We tend to live for the next season, yet do not always live for the next life⎯the eternal one.
Today’s readings, like those of last Sunday, are focused on the Second Coming of Christ. In the First Reading (Isaiah) and in the Gospel of St. Mark we are told: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths…the glory of the Lord shall be revealed…” In the Second Reading from the Second Letter of Saint Peter we are told how to wait: “conducting yourselves in holiness and devotion,” and to be “eager to be found without spot or blemish.”
This all sounds a lot like the old adage: “Hurry up and wait.” We know we must hasten to prepare a place in our hearts for Jesus. We understand we are to hurry to make straight the way of the Lord, so that He may enter directly into all we say and do. We recognize that we should hurry to do what we must in preparation for the Lord’s return; and then we must wait patiently for the Lord as he waits for us: for our conversion, our commitment, our courage and our caring.
The Psalm for today (#85) says that we will hear what God proclaims: peace for his people, salvation and glory, kindness and truth, justice and peace. This is the gift of God in His son, Jesus Christ. This is why we hurry and then we wait. By virtue of our baptism we are like John the Baptist: heralds of this truth. As we live in Advent and prepare for Christmas, we also await the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells.