Today everything feels new: it’s a new liturgical year, a new translation of the Missal, a new opportunity to start again. It’s Advent; and this is what this season does: it allows us to re-set ourselves without forgetting what we have done in the past.
Advent: in a way this is the life of every Christian. Living in tension, like in between two fires: Christ who came two thousand years ago and Christ who will come in glory. But, although it seems that I am stretched to embrace the whole of history, I am reminded to be watchful and remain grounded in the present. In every present moment, if I live each as each is supposed to be lived, I experience a new kind of coming: the “third” coming, as some of the spiritual masters used to call it. The coming of the Lord I experience every day, every moment. He is the one who comes to us constantly. What a great gift!
This year, I am reminded that He comes as “Father” and “redeemer” (1st reading.) These are images of family relationships: the father is the source of family life and the redeemer is the one in charge of rescuing or vindicate the family member who has been killed or has been taken as slave. In the touching prayer of Isaiah, I see God’s love in action. I know what His Dream is: to take us away from slavery and restore us into His household. St Paul finds the realization of this Dream in the “gift of God,” Jesus Christ.
He comes! in the middle of my crisis, in the middle of my “why?” He comes even when I think He’s away. The reality Advent points is that He comes but I can run away from Him. I know He is Father but I refuse to be His child. I know He rescues me from slavery but I often enjoy the shackles of slavery. Advent highlights the paradox of my life: I have to make a decision – who do I want to be? This year, am I willing to follow Him? Am I willing to pay the price for singing “O come, o come Immanuel?” “If” He comes, then what?
The prayer of the Psalm, “Turn us to you…” makes me understand. By myself I cannot live Advent, I cannot make myself available to Him. I cry, with the people of Isaiah, and beg Him to return back to me, to us. He longs to have my heaven rip open so that He can come in and do wonders, the total reconstruction of His kingdom in our midst.
Then, I want to be open to His coming. I long to be “turned” by God so that He can be welcomed as Father and Redeemer. I want to be ready for this; I also want to be ready for others to encounter Him. I want to be Advent.
As the season demands, I keep vigil with joyful expectation.