Tuesday, December 06, 2011

He Rejoices Over One Found

December 6, 2011

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent

By Beth DeCristofaro

Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of glad tidings; Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! … Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, Carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. (Isaiah 40:9,11)

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. (Matthew 18:12-13)


Almighty God, Frail Baby, Brother Jesus, I thank you for shepherding me in the tough places, those moments of sadness, defeat, sinfulness, misunderstanding, illness, cowardice, wrong choices. Thank you for never giving up on me. Shepherd me to never turn my back on you. Amen


The season of Advent is a season to feel wrapped around with the reality that God showed up in this world looking just like you and me. Even though I dislike the commerciality which we have placed on it, seasonal music over the loudspeakers and twinkling lights around windows and doors do remind me of the reason for the season.

In a recent NCR column, Fr. Richard McBrien talked of Advent. He wrote, “The word ‘Advent’ is derived from Latin (adveniens, or adventus), signifying ‘a coming toward (or near).’ It is meant to focus the church's attention on the three comings of Christ: in the past, at his birth in Bethlehem; in the present, in the community that is especially gathered for the Eucharist; and in the future, at his Second Coming.”[i] I had never actually thought about the threefold “coming” and it makes me feel ever more within God’s presence which is always.

Then Fr. McBrien used a very Cursillista-like image. “The Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy declared that when Catholics gather for the Eucharist, Christ becomes present in the worshiping community itself; in the Word proclaimed by the readers and the priest; in the persons of the various ministries; and uniquely in the sacrament of Holy Communion (n. 7). Christ also comes to us in the present apart from the Eucharist itself, through what this column once referred to as ‘the stable door of ordinary human experience.’”

“Christ comes to us through the stable door of ordinary human experience.” Piety softens and attunes our hearts to that presence. Study strengthens the mind to know ourselves as Christians and where holiness lies for us. Action opens wide the door for our passage to Christ and to welcome new Friends.


The holidays can be so stressful that the incredibleness of Christ’s threefold coming near to us can get lost. Take some prayer time apart to go into that Stable within your imagination to kneel near, perhaps cradle in your own arms, the infant God who was born for you. Feel His love for you and express your love for Him. When it is time to go, leave the stable door wide open behind you.

[i] Putting aside translation to discuss Advent”, Richard McBrien on Nov. 28, 2011, National Catholic Reporter.