Jesus said to his disciples: "There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
The Gospel of the Lord
Sunday Gospel Reflection
by Marilyn Kerner, SNDdeN
He Came, He Comes, He Will Come.
As a Novice I wrote an Advent poem. I could not find it among my “treasures” and it’s probably best that you be spared my sharing it! I remember the theme though because it is meaningful to me to this day. During this season of the Church year, I like to reflect on: He came; He comes, and He will come. Our Church has so many meaningful symbols, one we have for this season is the Advent Wreath, made of evergreen with the color of royalty, purple and pink, joy and of course, the lighted candles. Not only is the Advent wreath a “count down” to Christmas, it is also a reminder that Christ, is our Light, ever with us and the One we follow. In our secular world, if we allow it to influence us perhaps negatively, it is already all about “He came” – Christmas. Some bemoan this fact. Personally, I love the lights on Christmas trees, on homes and on the streets in the neighborhood. The varied colored lights remind me of the many ways Jesus, the Christ, is my light, lights up my life.
This brings me to “He comes.” The Advent Season is a great reminder that Jesus not only came and is coming but that he comes into our lives in so many varied ways and we bring him into the lives of others. Teresa of Avila wrote:
"Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world."
My practice is to fall asleep each night recalling all that I am grateful for in the day just past. And mostly it is people who show up on my gratitude list. And I can only hope I show up on someone else’s gratitude list at the end of their day! It is you and I who are so very instrumental in the “He comes.”
And now for the “He will come.” We do not know when the “He will come” will happen for us personally (and is this not wonderful in itself?) or when the “end time” will be (a blessing as well). Today’s Gospel from Luke presents a rather frightening picture don’t you think: “nations will be in dismay,” “people will die of fright,” and “that day will assault everyone.” And we are given instruction on how to be if we are around for the “end time”: “stand erect and raise your heads” and what our personal “end time?” I do not have a lot of experience but in my observations most of us leaving this life for the next, suffer. We came into this world with a scream and were totally dependent for our very life on others. And it seems most of us leave this life in much the same set of circumstances, struggling to breath and relying on others totally.
And here is where our first two Readings from Jeremiah and the first Letter to the Thessalonians are our saving grace. First the Reading from Jeremiah: “I will raise up…a just shoot,” “he will do what is right and just…” and “Juda shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure.” And in the first Letter to the Thessalonians we hear “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…as to strengthen our hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father as the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.” And this brings us back to “He came.” The promise of the Jeremiah reading came to be on that first Christmas. And the Reading from the first Letter to the Thessalonians brings us to “He comes.” “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all…” And I am convinced this can happen is the simplest of gestures: a smile, a thank you, a “how are you?” sincerely meant, a simple unsolicited act of kindness, like a phone call or a note. I could make a very long list of loving deeds as I imagine you can.
And so I leave us with the question: “How will I deepen in myself, this Advent Season, an understanding and appreciation of the three comings: He came, He comes and He will come? Perhaps I’ll try my hand at writing another poem! And you?
About Sister Marilyn Kerber
Sister Marilyn Kerber resides in Cincinnati, Ohio and originates from Chicago, Illinois. She is the Director of the Office of Religious for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In this ministry Sister Marilyn is the Archbishop’s liaison to the communities of women and men religious of the Archdiocese. She plans the Jubilee celebration and oversees the Religious Retirement Fund Collection in the Archdiocese.
Religious Education is and has been a focus in her ministry. She has been a Parish Director of Religious Education and ministered in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Office of Religious Education for nineteen years. Currently Sister Marilyn facilitates online courses in catechetics for the University of Dayton’s Virtual Faith Formation Community.Sister Marilyn enjoys reading, good movies and travel to visit with family and friends and to see the beauty this world has to offer when opportunities to do so present themselves.
Religious Education is and has been a focus in her ministry. She has been a Parish Director of Religious Education and ministered in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Office of Religious Education for nineteen years. She has facilitated online courses in catechetics for the University of Dayton’s Virtual Faith Formation Community.
Sister Marilyn enjoys reading, good movies and travel to visit with family and friends and to see the beauty this world has to offer when opportunities to do so present themselves.