Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Living in Advent

I know, I know: it's the Christmas Octave, what am I talking about Advent for? I can't help it: it's in today's readings!
We have the venerable Anna, at 84, an institution in the Temple (funny how she is hardly ever depicted in paintings or windows of the Presentation). She sees the child Jesus and from then on "spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem." And that "waiting" isn't over, really, because the first reading (from 1 John) gives us what seems to have been a stock phrase of apostolic preaching: that the world as we know it is passing away (1 Cor). Paul was telling us to "use the things of this world as though not using them" because they are passing away; John says "do not love the things of the world" because they are passing away. St. Peter (2 Pet) tells us what we are still in "Advent" for: "what we await are a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns." The letter to the Hebrews speaks of all this in terms of the Lord "shaking the heavens and earth" until we inherit an "unshakable" kingdom.
So we, too, are awaiting the fullness of redemption, and we, too, must listen to the prophetess Anna as she tells us about this child.

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