By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
Preparation is a key word for the Advent season and especially for this second Sunday of Advent. But how shall we prepare … and for what?
If anyone takes “prepare” seriously it is the shoppers! Malls and shop owners tell us that about 1 million and a quarter shopped at malls last Black Friday, and many more shopped online.
Of course we know John the Baptist has another idea when he says, “Prepare, make his paths straight”! We do that by making God’s love known to all the world … including our small world of family, friends and acquaintances.
God’s love shines on all the people. Through our own acts of kindness, we can make God’s love visible to others in our midst.
So what, exactly, is it that we are preparing for? A birth that happened 2,000 years ago?
As moving as those crib scenes are, the preparation is more for the continued coming of Jesus Christ. God’s presence is here and now and everywhere, and will be until the end of the world.
Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians seems to anticipate that question when he reminds us that, “Your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight.”
“Your love” means your personal love and the love of every person; all of us make up the entire people and kingdom of God!
Love must be shown to the entire body of Christ as well as to our family, our friends, our neighborhood.
But what does that mean in practice?
Think about climate change, refugees, poverty. Can we really show love without acting to reduce the pollution that – Pope Francis has said – will result in planetary suicide?
We all know the answers to these questions. We are to care for one another.
Let’s prepare this Advent by being mindful that everyone we meet – or read about or see on TV – is a child of God. Let’s prepare our hearts and our inner life by slowing down and finding moments of quiet to be in presence of God.
As you prepare for Christmas, with endless shopping and decorating and menu tasks, ask yourself:
Am I setting aside time for prayer?
Am I sharing my goods with the poor?
Am I learning about the real consequences of climate change, being mindful that all of us are connected to God, that all of us deserve clean air, water, food and shelter?
Now, go and prepare.