Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reflections on the Word - 1st Sunday of Advent December 3, 2006 - Reading 1 - Jer 33:14-16 What are you waiting for? What are you looking forward to? What is the star you are following? When I was young, I had my markers, my signposts that kept me moving, getting up out of bed every morning through those groggy teenage years. I loved the idea, the sense, the feeling of expectation. So often I would project my thoughts into the future and dream of that next good thing. From the ridiculous to the sublime; getting an Atari 2600 for Christmas (what a classic!) or maybe it was the next Star Wars movie (we had to wait 3 stinkin' years for the Empire Strikes Back!). Perhaps it was the next Sunday, when I might catch a glimpse of the Mysterious Girl Who Always Sat on the Far Side of Church. Oh those nerdy, self-conscious high school years! "The days are coming," says the Lord. So begins the Prophet Jeremiah in this first Sunday of Advent. The days are coming... Jeremiah puts out a signpost for us all this week. It's the something behind every hope, underneath all of the wrapping of expectation and the ribbons of hope. It's the dream of every heart, really. It is the fulfillment of a promise, of THE Promise.... "In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure....” That's it. What do we want? To be safe. To be secure, finally! This is the hope of humanity! To rest in the Strong Arms of the One Who won't let us go. The Prince of Peace Who will cast away all danger, all fear, and everything that threatens our peace, He is coming. He will save us from our ridiculous anxieties and He will lead us to those sublime moments of decision. He will enable us to dwell secure, confident in hope. So as Advent begins, we set our hearts on this path of expectation. We walk through the valleys and over the hills of a culture consumed with the desire to create its own safety, its own security. We follow a different beat, we walk free and unencumbered by distraction and deception. And in it all we "increase and abound in love," as Paul exhorts us in the second reading from this coming Sunday. (1 Thes 3:12—4:2) We must be careful to keep our hearts from becoming "drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life." Rather, let's listen to Jesus and "when these signs begin to happen, stand straight and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."
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