December 03, 2017
A loud “pop” and then contagious fear! It happened at Our Lady of Victory Basilica during the annual presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” with a hushed sellout/capacity crowd. The sound was caused by an old light bulb exploding in the ceiling. The frightening pop occurred during an aria “Rejoice Greatly.”
“Advent” means “coming” – the coming of the Messiah, God’s anointed one, the Christ. We sense the need for a Messiah who can save us from our own wretchedness and sin. Isaiah confronts God: “Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?” Isaiah prays: “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!” For us that coming, that divine intervention, has been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. St. Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, preoccupied with their own problems, to remember the precious gifts of God’s grace and peace that have been bestowed on them in Christ Jesus. They can be prepared and resolute to the end – the Day of Lord.
Jesus urges his disciples to “Be watchful! Be alert!” The caution comes right before the Passover and last meal he will have with them. In the Garden at Gethsemane Jesus asks Peter, James and John to watch with him in prayer. Advent is a time for us to be attentive, to be mindful of the One who came; the One who will return in glory; and the One who comes. Everything is changed. God is with us in Jesus Christ. We are sentinels – watching for the coming of the Lord at Eucharist; when we share and receive forgiveness; when we are compassionate and caring; when we lessen the dread of living in the world with awareness of God’s presence. Even during difficult times and exploding light bulbs we can sing: “Rejoice Greatly.”
Second Sunday of Advent