Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Today we begin the Season of Advent, that season in the life of the Church when we reflect on the Lord’s coming: His first coming as an infant in Bethlehem and His return in glory at the end of days.
The Season of Advent invites us to embrace in joyful hope what lies ahead; encountering the Lord in the Christmas Season, in word and sacrament, in prayerful reflection of what it means that God has come to save His people. But also in our life task of preparing to see Him face to face when He returns in glory like he has promised.
Advent in a sense is like the time of excitement and anxiety that precedes a wedding. The bride and the groom are waiting in eager anticipation of the big day. There is much to get ready in order to celebrate the day well. And for the bride and groom there is some element of wonder about how their lives might change as they enter holy matrimony and begin building their family.
Advent is like that time before a wedding. The bridegroom is God, in the person of the Divine Word (second person of the Holy Trinity). The bride is humanity. Heaven and earth become “wedded” in the mystery of God becoming man, in the mystery of Christmas. The two, God and man, become one, literally, in the child born to Mary who is named Jesus. This union of the divine and the human is meant to bear fruit for eternal life.
We also wait, like the bride and the groom, for the wedding night, when the marriage will be consummated. The words spoken at the altar are then made real as the two become one flesh. It is an expression of commitment and willingness to embrace with love all that lies ahead. They are now in this adventure together. So it should be for the Christian as he/she awaits the Lord’s return at the end of time, or at the end of his/her own life. For then, if our actions match our words, we become one; we share in the very life and glory of God in ways beyond our present ability to fully imagine. We call that new reality – heaven.
In this crazy world in which we live, let’s make Advent a time of renewed hope in what the Lord has in store for those who love Him.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Life,