The Season of Advent has one foot in the past and one in the future. We are getting ready for the celebration of Christmas once again with joyful anticipation. We are also preparing for the return in glory of Jesus, maybe with somewhat lesser anticipation and perhaps a little trepidation.
But, why is that so? As St. Augustine wrote: “For what sort of love of Christ is it to fear his coming? Brothers [and sisters], do we not have to blush with shame? We love him, yet we fear his coming. Are we really certain that we love him? … He will come whether we wish it or not. Do not think that because he is not coming just now, he will not come at all. He will come, you know not when; and provided he finds you prepared, your ignorance of the time of his coming will not be held against you.”
We are told: “Be watchful; be alert”; “Watch.”. We are being called to live in the moment and faithfully attend to whatever task we have been entrusted by God.
This call to constant preparedness is not just a matter of our personal efforts. Indeed, God our Father has a stake in our success; for God wants all to share in eternal life. And so Paul tells us through the Corinthians that God will keep us firm to the end and already enriches us with every spiritual gift.
The fact is that we cannot do it by ourselves. The author of the Isaiahan passage knew that if the People were to be God’s people again after the Exile, God would have to have a hand in reshaping and re-forming them, just as a potter does when working on clay.
This Advent Season may we place ourselves in God’s creative hands to be shaped and recreated as we await Christmas and the Lord’s return. May we recognize that we are a work in progress and be alert to the touch of the Master Potter.
1st Sunday in Advent, B, 2017