Saturday, November 27, 2010
Swords Into Plowshares... Advent Begins
Can't we all think of things that we face that we just don't believe that we can do? Editing, writing, cooking, cleaning, loving, being, transforming, being transformed, living, reconciling, exercising, helping, being helped... The list is endless, isn't it? What we just can't do is so clear, but what we must do is clear as well. Of course, there is wisdom in knowing what we can't do, but there is hope in believing what we might do.
The majority of us can't turn water into wine, that much is true, but we can do a lot. We are called to participate and cooperate with salvation and that often means challenging our own assumptions about what we can and must do. If we are to ascend the mountain of the Lord, which Isaiah is telling us about in the first reading, we might want to engage our faith and engage with one another to do so. I love how easily I type that and how I manage to avoid doing so. *sigh*
This kind of thing requires "waking up." St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, seems to understand this. Oh, I understand it intellectually, but I would be pretty hard pressed to actually ask you to wake up as I remain in my snoozey state. This is why we must all carry each other along. By the way, this is a tough reading. St. Paul is not just speaking literally about certain kinds of behavior, but speaking to the Romans who were given over to gluttony and lust. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas shopping before us, gluttony and lust are around hand and hand. It is not just about sex, that is for sure.
The Gospel, our first now that we are in the Year of Matthew, recounts the story of Noah for us. The theme is this - be awake! We do not know when the Lord will come and we must be vigilant. This does not, once more, mean taking this literally. It does mean that we are invited to quiet down, pay attention, change things and be aware of what is really important. This is our challenge. It can't be done alone, that is why we meet and pray in community.
We know not the day nor the hour, but we know what we need to do. Now if only I could turn that sword into a plowshare... Will you help me?