Advent IB; Mark13:24; 11/29/30
Where do you look for a little good news? The newspaper? Online?
Mark’s meteorological report doesn’t offer much either: The sun will be darkened, moon will give no light, stars falling and the heavens shaken.
This Jewish poetry describes the collapse of things as they know them. For them this is nothing new. They lived through the Assyrians, the Babylonians and now the Romans. Ethnic cleansing, exterminating cultures and lives was commonplace. The Jews were hoping that they wouldn’t be next.
Jesus assured them that “this generation shall not pass away” when things collapse. The word “generation” in the Aramaic means race—not a time period.
Jesus tells the Jews: not exterminated but survive. This was good news to them.
That was then. This is now. Thanksgiving Day has passed. Our minds shift towards Christmas. We remember the first coming and anticipate the second.
Do we not ask similar questions? How’s it all going to work out in the end? No one knows. Not even Jesus. How can there be good news in this?
The good news comes in these words: “we do not know when the master of the house will come—keep awake.” How can this be good news?
We begin by asking why we’re looking forward to Christmas in the first place?
Outside of the family, gifts and merriment, why is it that we look forward to a babe lying in the manger? Why do we remember all the faith that it took Mary and Joseph to bring the child to Bethlehem? What does the manger have to give us? What are we hoping for from this child?
Is not what we are hoping from the manger the same thing we are asking for at the end of time? Do we not all desire a life that is not overcome with suffering—but rather a way to transcend suffering? Do we not seek a quality of life and meaning that will lead us into eternal life? “Eternal” has as much to do with the quality of life than the longevity of it.
Jesus words are good news: “You do not know when the master of the house will come—keep awake.” The only difference is that now the master is already here.
The Master comes again and again and again to deliver us from captivity—our spiritual captivity. Jesus did not come to save his people from the Romans but to save them from themselves and from the evil that can influence and imprison us.
Advent is here with its paradox: Jesus is here and Jesus is coming again—to be born in places within us where he is yet to make his home in us—places where he has yet to be invited, places within us that we do not yet know exist.
Jesus is coming to inhabit us—not as others do with oppression, but with a Divine Presence that brings a life that words cannot describe—a life of joy, peace and abundance—and it’s all inside. Christ’s presence is so profound that he will hold us no matter what happens outside of us.
Once within, this life seeks to burst forth to invite others to become a part of that presence also.
Meister Eckhart: “We are all meant to be mothers of God…for God is always needing to be born.”
We all have rooms within where Christ is waiting to be born.