First Sunday Advent – Christ is coming on Sunday!

This week we had confirmations.   I was ready at 4pm for the bishop to arrive at 5pm for dinner. At about 5 minutes after four the doorbell rings. It was the bishop’s MC – he came super early to set things up – he reminded me of all the things I forgot to do. So I had to unlock doors and get things for him.  At about ten minutes before 5 Alberto our deacon and his wife Virginia arrived for dinner with the bishop. We began conversing in the hall waiting for the bishop to arrive.   At about 10 after 5 we heard a little rap on the window.   We looked outside and opened the door – it was the bishop – “Does no one open doors around here? I rang the doorbell twice!”


This was a very literal experience of the Gospel of today – pay attention – stay alert – you do not know when the master will knock!


Jesus is knocking on our doors. He is here – and so often we miss him – we don’t realize he is so close. We must be ready – we must be alert. Advent we think about the coming of Christ – at Christmas as a little baby and again at the end of time.   Yet, in truth we do not need to wait for Christ to come – Christ comes to us every single Sunday in the holy Mass.   Are we aware of him?


If later this week someone asked “what did you do on Sunday?” How might you answer? “I went to church, went out for breakfast with the family – stopped by to see uncle pete in the nursing home – picked up some chicken wings, went to grey cup party ”   You might even leave out “went to church’ – not very interesting water cooler conversation.


“I went to church’ – but what if instead we said “I sang with the angels and saints, I was transported back in time to Calvary with Mary and John at the foot of the cross, I heard the voice of Jesus calling me to forgive my sister, just one word made me realize how deep my grudge is – Jesus healed me, he forgave me, he called me to follow him, to change my life and the lives of others. I touched the risen Lord, I ate the bread of life which is living inside me – he helped me bite my tongue during breakfast when my sister started complaining again, he reminded me I had not seen uncle pete in a while, he helped me not to drink too much at the party …it is amazing God is so close to us you ought to come to Mass on Sunday and see Jesus for yourself!“


Now this might be a little bit much for the watercooler – it might sound kinda nutty – but it’s the truth – this is what we believe.   Mass is a meeting with the risen Jesus.   It is he who is really speaking to us in the Word – it is he who is really present on the altar. He has something he wants to say to us.   He is here to heal us and heal us. He is calling us to follow him out the doors of the Church and into the world.   To go to Mass is to meet Jesus.


How often do we come to Mass expecting to hear something from the Lord?   Do we come expecting to meet him, to be touched by him, to be changed by him? Are we awake, alert, ready for the Lord to come?   Or are we a little sleepy – daydreaming and distracted?


Matthew Kelly speaks about the Mass as one of the seven pillars of Catholic Spirituality.   He makes a suggestion that I think might help us to be more aware of what is happening at Mass. He invites us to have a Mass Journal. We should come to Mass with the short prayer “Lord what is one way I can become a better version of myself?” We are to then listen to hear what the Lord is saying to us. Once we have an idea of what that one thing is to pray the rest of the Mass for the grace to make that one thing a reality – whether it is to forgive your sister, visit uncle pete, or not drink too much at the party.   If we write it in our journal we can revisit it throughout the week. We can allow it to be a starting point for prayer throughout the week.   We can follow our progress – did we do what we said we would do?


Journal or not – Jesus is knocking.   He is waiting for us to let him in. Often we don’t hear his knock, we don’t realize his presence.   During this Advent let us be a little more alert to recognize our Lord, especially in the Holy Eucharist.