Saturday, November 30, 2013

Summons to A Charged Advent

Here we are, another  December 1st, another first day of another Advent season.  In Isaiah we hear “Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain,” and “Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”  And St. Paul encourages us “to reject the darkness of sin” and live with the armor of light.  And St. Matthew reminds us “be prepared” because at an unknown hour the Lord will come.  These three men of the Bible are sounding for God a wake up call to the Christian world in particular this weekend.

For us to capture a new vibrant almost electric sensation of what is about to happen, we have to hear these biblical calls as a genuine summons:  leave the world of sin and move to a new day, a new life.  There has come into the culinary vocabulary a word and concept that might well serve our modern taste for something new, something exciting.  The word is “infusion.”  Chefs today “infuse” parts of a meal with flavorings that excite our taste buds.  Even bartenders offer traditional drinks with an “infused” flavor. The season of Advent, you might say, is our annual spiritual culinary moment when scripture reminds us to slow our pace and recall how God’s presence “infuses” not a meal or a drink but all of his created world.

So, there comes a question:  have you thought that this Advent season we begin today is truly an opportunity for you and me to “infuse” an awareness of God’s goodness in our lives?  If you have or have not, as Advent begins, let me suggest that today and tomorrow, we use the first two days of the season to take the time to mark for ourselves what darkness of sin needs to be removed to make way for the light of Christ.  

Let me share a thought, unusual and perhaps, beyond our normal, traditional manner of thinking.  But it is what came to my mind during some time in prayer and reflection very early Saturday morning. Did you ever think that God might be using the efforts of retailers to move the beginning of the Christmas season back a little each year as an opportunity for those who preach to take time to focus on a universal need in our society today, namely, that there is a crisis of faith and morality throughout the world brought about by indifference toward God, immorality and religious laziness?  It is simply a thought when we might take the time to face honestly so much tone-deafness to the Ten Commandments and, yes, ignorance towards the laws and practices of our religious affiliation.  Further, why is it that the average attendance in most American parishes for the weekend obligation to attend Mass only brings out 30% of most parish enrollments?
Just a thought to me from the Holy Spirit?

Advent is indeed a “wake up call” moment and the Fall Christmas Shopping Classic we witnessed on Friday might just be God using even the commercial early celebrations to bring Jesus back into our lives?  Perhaps we might realize that the days of Advent can be a move to a new vibrancy for living, for a truly powerful understanding of God’s presence in our lives and in our world.   We can stir up the world’s awareness of God’s presence “infused” in society, if we make the effort  ourselves during Advent to make known and lived the “reason for the season.”