First Sunday of Advent 2021: Column on Luke 21:25-28, Cover Art

Dear Followers of the Messiah,

Today’s gospel, Luke 21:25-28, shakes us by the shoulders. It is spiritual cold water in the face. This message of urgency begins the New Year of Grace, 2022. 

Advent creates within us a desire for God. This is the message of our ancestors who waited for the Messiah. We know this urgency to wake up when we are confronted with severe illness or when our children are rushed to the hospital in the middle of night. We know it when divorce strikes our home or when a spouse is counted among job-loss statistics. We utter cries from the heart when life seems unfair. We raise a fist to heaven when we cannot control the outcome of life.

Advent begins with an eternal cry for justice. This is because our ancestors waited for the Messiah whose promise was peace, light and hope for all people. So, we begin this new liturgical season in deep human need, a condition we know well. We stand among others who ache for Jesus Christ. This penetrating longing of the heart is our food for prayer. 

Advent begins with a wake-up call to not let our hearts become drowsy. We are to cease carousing. We are to stop drunkenness. We are to be vigilant. We are to stand on the earth and desire God in the deepest recesses of our hearts and in the visible needs of the planet. 

God is nearby. God is here. God is within us. Advent allows us to see for ourselves the miracles of what God offers us and the world. So, let us calm our expectations. Let us put aside the frantic activity of December. Let us instead, wait in joyful hope for God to change everything in our hearts and on our planet. We begin the story of Jesus Christ over again. We wait. Pay attention to Advent. Wake up. 

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron Raab, CSC, Pastor

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