ADVENT 3rd Sunday, 2013: 1st reading Is 35:1-6a, 10; 2nd reading James 5:7-10; Gospel Mt 11:2-11
I was visiting my friend, a Benedictine Sister, who was being cared for on our Health Care Floor. Just the day before, she had tacked a note to our bulletin board telling us a Hospice nurse would be coming to the monastery to care for her.
While I had known she was seriously ill, she never indicated how bad it was and I did not ask.
The news caught me off guard.
This was the Sister with whom I had roomed for 6 summers as we studied for our Masters in Theology. We both had ministered to young Sisters in Formation, had served on our Administration Team, and, most recently, had formed the Liturgical Committee for building our new chapel.
Though we were different personalities, we had similar views about spirituality, and life as Benedictine Christian women. We had been, over the years, close friends.
I suppose in the back roads of my mind I knew she was preparing to die, but I had been denying it. So I went to visit her to hear with my own ears what was going on with God and her.
She said, “Pray that when the Lord comes, I will have the courage to say Yes, and will be waiting and willing to go with the Lord.”
I was surprised at her intense tone and look. She really meant for me to pray that she would recognize, meet and go with the Lord!
From the life Sister had led, it never occurred to me but that she would be waiting and eager to go to heaven. If anyone could be ready, it would be she.
This Sunday’s reading from St. James underscores Sister’s prayer: “Make your heart firm because the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
This Advent is the EXACT, RIGHT, PROPER, NOW TIME for each of us to live the lives we are called to live. To make our hearts firm. Because the coming of the Lord is at hand.
The church in her gentle caring way provides theses 4 Advent weeks’ readings and liturgical celebrations to remind us of the coming of the Lord.
The Lord comes daily in the Eucharist, in Scripture, in people, in incidents in life.
One day the Lord will come literally, in person, to take us home. Let’s pray that our “hearts will be firm.”