First Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16 + 1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2 + Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
We open the Season of Advent with a rollercoaster of human experience!
In Jeremiah and Thessalonians, we are invited to hope, trust, feel safe, love, and allow ourselves to be loved. Phrase after phrase wraps around us…
…I will fulfill the promise…shall dwell secure…our justice…the paths of God are kindness and constancy…guides the humble to justice …the friendship of God…make you increase and abound in love…strengthen your hearts…
And all of it comes to a screeching halt in the Gospel reading! Here we encounter the anxiety and fear, the confusion and stress, the challenge and call to be faithful and connected in times tumultuous and perplexing. The Gospel of Luke propels us out of the comfort outlined in Jeremiah and the blessing offered in Thessalonians and into the challenge of living faithfully when everything around seems topsy-turvy and threatening.
What a wonderful way to begin this Season of Hope, Love, and Joy! What a wonderful invitation… to live Advent in the power of God’s promise as we face the challenge of working to bring God’s justice more fully into this world. How comforting to know that the promise of God that will open and deepen in us throughout this season is the very gift that the world needs now more than ever.
We are living in a time of struggle and polarization. Our capacity to tolerate differences of any kind is stressed and often results in arguments, blaming, attacking, demonizing, and living each day with unresolved conflicts or strained relationships. We live in a time of unimaginable greed and poverty. Our society praises the former and blames the latter even though unfair regulations and laws create the advantage and disadvantage. We live in a time of overwhelming self-interest and lack of authentic accountability. Our government no longer serves the interest of people but caters to the lobbyists, campaign donors, and the preservation of political power.
During this Advent, let us meet it…all of it…the struggle and polarization, the greed and poverty, the overwhelming self-interest and lack of accountability…with full faith in our God, with a growing sense of hope in the power of God to work through us, with an eagerness to love and grow in our ability to love, with an expanded sense of joy that our God is with us…in disarmingly powerful and unexpected ways.
Today, and all days throughout Advent, proclaim in thought, word, and action that God-with-us is the ancient promise fulfilled here and now…
Sister Didi Madden, O.P.