“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Mt 11:3)
Dear Brothers and Partners,
This past year at the early Mass on Gaudete Sunday, without music and sparsely attended due to freezing rain, the elderly Irish priest moved slowly, hesitantly, down the long aisle to the altar, an advent experience in itself, giving welcome pause to the frenetic run-up to Christmas. In an unexpected opening reflection, he shared that these Advent days were not really about a season but about a way of life which we strive to live as we work to conform ourselves to the One we follow and profess.
These Advent days are tough to keep in focus. We find ourselves moving in many directions at once–drawn to the invitation to slow down and to be in touch with the questions that matter… what and whom are we awaiting . . . what in us is so deeply stirred by the mystery of these days, while at the same time, we are lured by the excitement of the tinsel and lights, the jingles and the hype, and the good cheer of the season: feasts, family, and friends.
Still Advent keeps nudging us to focus on Jesus’ coming, not as a baby to be born, but on our continuous opportunities to welcome the risen Jesus among us and within us. Advent expresses the deepest longing within us . . . “live Jesus in our hearts!” It stirs in us the incarnational restlessness “to conform ourselves to the one we follow and profess!” It strengthens in us the incarnational truth that God is Emmanuel, that Jesus is ever asking us to make room in our hearts, to allow Him to become flesh in our lives.
The question put to Jesus by the disciples of John the Baptist—the Advent question— is also put to us, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” It is about Jesus’ coming . . . about our own be-coming . . . our taking on Jesus and His mission. We are exhorted to “be watchful and alert,” to recognize Jesus in those whom we love and know, in strangers who cross our paths, and in the poor and the vulnerable who have a claim on Him through us. Jesus’ coming is not always expected or convenient! With the “eyes of faith,” may we be ready to welcome Him in our lives for ourselves and for others.
As disciples of Jesus and followers of De La Salle, it is our job to do what Jesus did: to pay attention to what is lost, fragile, and wounded. Like Jesus, each of us has been sent to “bring glad tidings to the poor.” This is something that lies at the very heart of the gospel and that Jesus himself makes the ultimate criterion for our final accounting.
May the witness of our watchfulness and “conforming ourselves to the One we follow and profess” be evidenced in Jesus’ reply to John the Baptist’s disciples: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” (Mt 11:4-5)
Live Jesus in our hearts!
Brother Dennis Malloy, FSC