As We Wait in Joyful Hope

By Fr. Mike Boutin

Deliver us Lord, we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that by the help of your mercy, we may be free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (from the proposed new texts of the Roman Missal)

Listen to Vocal Point from Brigham Young University sing the traditional choral anthem by Paul Manz, "E'en So, Lord Jesus Come Quickly" in a very non-traditional way.

We spend a lot of time waiting these days: we wait in long lines at the grocery store (and I always end up in the slowest line with the cashier who is training and the person who has all the coupons...). We wait for FedEx to deliver a package, and of course they always come when I step out for ten minutes to run an errand. We wait for summer to arrive, so that the cold long days and nights of winter in New England are just a distant memory...

And we wait for more important things too: we wait anxiously for test results or a diagnosis....we wait to find out if we got into the college of our dreams...we wait for a job...we wait for Mr. or Mrs. Right...we wait for a phone call or a visit from that son or daughter....

And if you're a parent, you've waited to give birth....they tell me that's a particular kind of waiting: fear and joy mixed together...panic stricken but full of hope and promise for the future....

Advent is about waiting in joyful hope. That's a particular kind of waiting, isn't it?  A lot of waiting is futile, almost wasted time, like when I'm waiting aimlessly in a grocery store line trying to decide whether or not to switch to the next aisle or just continue to wait. But the waiting of Advent is the waiting of those who know what (Who!) they are waiting for: the Sun of Justice, Emmanuel, the King of Glory, the Son of Man. He comes on the clouds....and we need to be ready when He comes....

This kind of waiting, Advent waiting, is like that of Mary waiting to give birth to the child Jesus: fear and hope all in the same breath...a new world waiting to come to birth....

In this season of Advent, as the world is cloaked in the darkness of winter and sin, as the days get shorter and with it, so do our lives, we wait with Mary for a new world waiting to come to birth. We wait and we live in joyful hope...and we prepare, by living each and every day as if it were our last, since the Son of Man will come like a thief in the night...

So we watch, and wait...in joyful hope....Now pray....

 

Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.

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