Advent – What Are We Waiting For?
By Father Ralph de Hahn – A charming mystery accompanies the joyful liturgical season of Advent: it is that irresistible spirit of waiting and expectation, longing for something—or somebody — great to appear on stage.
Mankind Has Been Waiting Throughout History
Even from the dawn of creation, all the earth has been groaning for that new life. And so we have the great Jewish prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Malachi and Micah offering us some remarkable details of the One “who is coming to save us”.
The believing world was, and is still, on fire with desire. Consider how the Maiden of Nazareth reacted to Gabriel’s astonishing message for her pure longing for the promised One to be born of her flesh and blood!
The Wise Men, Simeon and John the Baptist
We can easily share the fears and anxiety of Joseph, her spouse, and the utterly confused Zechariah and his ageing wife, Elizabeth.
And what longing haunted the hearts and imagination of the Wise Men from the east searching for this newborn king?
What of Simeon in the temple praying ceaselessly for the promised salvation of the People of Israel, the coming of that all-powerful conqueror? And what does he find standing before him? A helpless baby in the arms of a young mother.
All through the ages the question lingers on: “What will this child turn out to be?”
While down at the river Jordan a passionate John is crying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”, we may wonder exactly what kind of kingdom the Baptist had in mind.
We Need the Light of the Gospel
Today we are the Advent people standing before an unspeakable mystery. We hope, we ponder, we repent, we yearn for a Coming that will make a difference!
The truly great prophet Isaiah speaks of the comforting healing powers of a merciful Father and of the incredible and endless compassion of a Deliverer.
And that is exactly what the Church and the present world is longing for: we are needing a light that will set our faith aglow, a love that will dispel all fear, a heart that will open up to the piercing cry of her children, the very poor and homeless, the downtrodden and vulnerable, the millions in bondage and cruelly wounded.
“O come, O come Emmanuel” — Come and make that difference we yearn for; come, and set your people free.