Wednesday, November 19, 2008


It is difficult to believe that the glorious season of Advent is upon us. It is that wonderful spiritual time of the year when we recall the return of Christ at the end of time and celebrate his first coming among us in Bethlehem. It marks the beginning of the liturgical year for us Catholics. With all the saints we cry out "How long, O Lord?" With the prophets we immerse ourselves in the scriptures. With the wise virgins we procure the spiritual oil that lights our way into the new and eternal kingdom of Christ. John the Baptist (the Forerunner, Prodromos, Precursor) points our way to the Christ who is come and yet to come.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem reminds us that when Christ came the first time, he came to draw us to his kingdom by gentle persuasion. He kept silent before those who accused and judged him. When he comes finally, at the end of the ages, he will judge those who judged him. "Then, whether men like it or not, they shall be members of his kingdom by necessity." Think of that! What greater discomfort for anyone who had rejected Christ! While we are free to join his kingdom now, and live lives of holiness and grace, we become more like him, and his joy becomes our joy. After all, he only promises us the joy "of your Lord." There are no other joys available to us than this. Those who seek other joys will in the end only have the one, infinite, joy. Those who reject the one joy will endure forever what they do not desire, have never sought, and will seek forever to be relieved of. Let this Advent be a time of restoration and rebuilding for us. Make straight the way of the Lord!

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