In the first reading we hear a prophecy of Isaiah:
all nations shall stream toward “the mountain of the Lord’s house.”
And perhaps you’re wondering to what that refers.
Well, let’s figure it out.
It refers to the “Lord’s House” – that means the temple,
In Jerusalem, built on Mount Zion.
And that of course is where Jesus gathered with his Apostles
on the night before he died;
and the next day, he completed his “Mass”
with his suffering and death on the Cross.
So if you’re wondering how that prophecy is to be fulfilled:
the answer is in the Holy Mass – what we are doing right now!
Isaiah said that the Word of the Lord would go forth from Zion –
and it did, especially after the Day of Pentecost;
And that all the nations would stream to the Lord’s House –
and that, too, has happened;
the Holy Mass is offered throughout the world,
in every language and nation and tongue.
So it is wonderful to consider that this passage has been,
and is being, fulfilled, even as we gather here now.
The emphasis in the Gospel – and in Advent generally –
is on watchfulness for the coming of Jesus.
In a word, Advent is about eternity.
You might say, hold on: I thought it is about Christmas?
But you see, Christmas, too, is about eternity, about heaven,
Because with Christmas, heaven bursts forth on earth,
And we begin to see heaven among us.
So when you and I talk about Jesus’ coming,
it’s not as if he’s absent from the world.
People will say, “he’s coming back” – as if, he’s not here.
Or they’ll say, “…if Jesus were here. But he is!
Many people do not realize Jesus is here, right now:
He never left!
They don’t know what the sacraments are:
that the Holy Spirit enters us in baptism and confirmation;
that Jesus stands with us, in suffering and pain,
in the anointing of the sick;
that marriage makes real, in a flesh-and-blood way,
the love of Jesus for his people.
People don’t realize that Christ truly acts through the priesthood;
And they simply don’t know the truth of what the Holy Mass is,
of what the Eucharist is: Jesus is here!
It’s easy for us as Catholics to take all this for granted;
But we must not! These are astounding gifts! Jesus is with us!
Let me take a moment to point out
that the bishops are launching a “Eucharistic Revival” –
to foster a rebirth of faith in the Eucharist.
To rekindle what Pope St. John Paul called “Eucharistic Amazement.”
You haven’t heard much about this from the other priests and me –
as you know, things have been a little crazy for us lately.
Archbishop Schnurr is launching a project to help get us all started.
You can read about it in today’s bulletin, but the gist of it is
that he’s making available a video series by Bishop Barron,
which will be provided in installments via email.
It’s free to sign up; see the bulletin.
And when you and I talk about Jesus’ coming,
maybe we can change our emphasis to that future “coming”
and instead explain that what lies ahead is Jesus reigning.
He is king now, yet he is among us with the greatest patience.
He has the right to command, and yet he continues to invite.
There will come a time when the preparing is over,
and the Kingdom we prepare for, comes in full.
To the extent you and I bear witness by our own seriousness,
we will help others to wake up and get serious, too.