Advent Reflection December 24, 2021
We live in a world of blessings! All around us are blessings which we often do not see. There is the blessing of creation, a world so fit for us to live in. There is the blessing of other people, who enable us to know that in all things we are never alone. There is the blessing of our bodies, a system so complicated we are unaware of most of what it does for us.
But all of these blessings pale in comparison to the blessings of God. The first reading today is about the great promise of a Messiah. David is concerned about appearances. He lives in a house of cedar, and the Ark of the Covenant in a tent. This is not a good look for David, and while sincere in his desire to please God, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not what God intends to do. His promise is far greater than simply a dwelling for the Ark of the Covenant. He promise is God Himself, the promise he will send His Son to dwell among us.
But, ah, so much more than simply living with us. He will take on every aspect of being human. God the Son will share in all our joys, celebrations and happy events. But far more, he will share in our pain, hardships and sorrow. Free from sin, Jesus will take on the consequences of our sin, he will suffer for our sake and therefore bring about the great salvation we hope to receive, a salvation that lasts forever.
As monumental at the Incarnation is, the mysterious event of one person in two natures, and as magnificent where the signs that accompanied this event, it is today, a seemingly silent event. The promise made to David is not readily apparent to all today. We do not see angels singing glad tidings of great joy! We are not able to approach the manger bringing gifts as did the three magi. And if we choose to ignore Jesus, that is something in the gift of our freedom we are allowed to do.
But to those of us with faith, the event of the Incarnation we will celebrate tonight is as magnificent and glorious as ever. The great promise of God becomes real in Jesus not in the form of a military to restore temporal military power to Israel, but in the form of the Prince of Peace, one who ushers in the Kingdom of God.
And this is the great promise. That we will be able to return to the original holiness God intended for us to have. Because of the event of the Incarnation and the confirmation of His Resurrection, we can be holy, not simply good. Because of the suffering he will endure we can become like him, for we are made in our image and likeness and his suffering heals our brokenness.
But the promise is more! We will also return to original justice, the time when Christ will be all in all. The hungry will be fed, the poor will have the basic things we all deserve, and violence will be no more. This is original justice, a world as God intended it to be from the start. And we will have the wonderful ability to participate in this Kingdom, and to help Jesus bring it about fully.
Over these days of Advent, we have heard Advent reflections from the Christian Brothers College High School community. Each of the Advent reflections point to the great miracle we were anticipating, the birth of Jesus. We still live in a world of brokenness. There are those who sadly who will celebrate this great event alone. There is still far too much violence and hatred. We do not live in a world of economic justice where all have what they deserve. There is still a pandemic and countless other diseases that that ravage our world. And in it all, it is often still the poor that suffer these things the worst.
And yet, what started as a tiny pinprick of light has become a glorious star. What started as a small concern about the Ark of the Covenant dwelling in a tent has become the arrival of a King whose Kingdom has no end! And if we look ever so carefully, if we ask for the eyes of faith, we can see the presence of Christ in all people all over the world. Here is praying that each of these Advent reflections brought you a sense of hope and gladness.
Here is hoping that in spite of the hardships in the world we can be surrounded by love. Here is hoping that we can see the person of Jesus in our family, friends and relatives. But most of all, here is hoping that we see the presence of Jesus in ourselves, the one who not only leads us to holiness, but if we accept His grace enables us to achieve it.
On behalf of the Christian Brothers College High school community, know of our prayers that all of you may have a Blessed and Glorious Christmas!
— Fr. DePorres Durham, OP, Chaplain