First Sunday of Advent
Advent is a time of hopeful waiting. Waiting for Christ to come to us as the child in the manger. Waiting for Christ to come as the healer, consoler, friend, and Lord. Advent is a time of waiting for promises to be kept.
In the opening lines of today’s first reading, we hear, “The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah.” What is this promise that God made? What is the promise we are hopeful of receiving? Jeremiah says a king will come that ushers in security and justice. Christ has indeed come but security and justice? We see little of security and justice. So, what of this promise?
God’s promises are bound to a single principle, faithfulness. Israel could have lived in peace if they had lived lives of radical devotion. In the moments they did, they enjoyed security and justice. We can live with a certain kind of security and justice if we live out radical faithfulness. We seem, however, woefully incapable of being faithful, and God knows this.
This is the heart of the hope we experience. God remains with us despite our unfaithfulness that destroys what security and justice could be possible. Christ, in his life and death, remained faithful and continues to do so today.
Our lives might feel barren and deserted because of violence, suffering, or sadness. Jeremiah’s words are for you. Remain faithful; a tiny seed of life remains in you, waiting to be sprouted. God remains with you. Where is that glimmer of hope in your life? Where is the small voice speaking to, saying, I am coming, be patient, and all will be well?
Reflection by Fr. Etienne Huard, OSB