This 3rd Sunday of Advent is very aware of these basic, trying moments of the human heart and experience. It is specifically to this human experience that our God speaks to us to have hope, patience, and faith!
As another candle is lit on our wreath, there is one more beacon of hope bringing light to our darkness. Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. (Isaiah 35: 4-5)
How many today are struggling in these economic times to make ends meet? How much “blindness” is still at work in our world creating and sustaining injustice? How much interior conversion is still needed in the hearts of God’s people? This Advent invites all of us to recognize that we are children of God…children in need of forgiveness…children to cry out in the words of this weekend’s Psalm (146) Lord, come and save us.
In the midst of the realities of life that challenge our hope, that would get us down, or even have us doubt or curse God, we know that such response only separates us further from God. Rather, Advent reminds us of the need to be patient, and wait upon the Lord. Be patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7)
The challenges of life remind us of our utter weakness, and our need and dependence on the power and action of God. Advent calls us to open ourselves up to this Sacred Mystery. Sacred Scripture is not a myth. It is not a philosophy. It is a living Word! It is the very power of God, and IS God.
Consequently the Word, who from the beginning is with God and is God, reveals God himself in the dialogue of love between the divine persons, and invites us to share in that love. Created in the image and likeness of the God who is love, we can thus understand ourselves only in accepting the Word and in docility to the work of the Holy Spirit. In the light of the revelation made by God’s Word, the enigma of the human condition is definitively clarified. (Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, #6)
This Sacred Mystery of God’s presence and action in our lives is not limited to the moments of prayer and the celebration of the Sacraments, albeit these are absolutely important in the life of the believer. Our God is present with us and to us in every moment. We are called to open ourselves to God in every moment, that He may sanctify us “there”, in every moment of human activity.
Even John the Baptist had his “low moment”. Even he, the precursor of the Lamb of God, before his death, needed reassurance: Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3) We have the grace of knowing we need not look for another! We have the certainty of truth that Christ is the Light of the world, the Power of God, the Wisdom of God, the Word of God.
So, when life is tough, cling to hope. Patiently endure, and cling to Christ! He does, and He will act! And know, in the moments of darkness, His light within us can never be extinguished. In the moments of darkness, the Master Craftsman is chiseling away, further defining His image within us…further strengthening our character and virtues.
Endure in patience. Never quit (on yourself); and never give up (on God)! Live always in Hope.