First Sunday of Advent Reflection
A time to breathe, a time to put aside our grievance, a time to let go, and a time to prepare.
The years flow together and all the many preparations we have made; preparations for holidays, preparations for celebrations, preparations for the living and preparations for the dead. These also seem to merge as the years pass, until all we have time only for the preparations for this day. Yet for many the preparations of this day will not be fulfilled. This very day, as you read this reflection, 160,000 people will die.
One day this will also be our day to die. St Matthew reminds us that for all too many of us, even for those who are elderly or sickly, the moment of death will come suddenly, will come unexpectedly and will find us unprepared; will find us clutching and grasping at all those people and things that we must leave behind. All our pride, all our prestige, all our wealth and all our honours we have hoarded, all we will have to lay aside.
Yet there is something that all too often we do take with us. Stand at the death bed and witness. So many that still carry the burdens of grievance, the burdens of un-forgiveness and the resentment of pain and loss. These are indeed are the powers of wrath that block us from entering the kingdom of God here on earth as in heaven above.
Being born from above, in water and in spirit, the sacraments of initiation become those graced moments of spiritual awakening and awareness, sharing in Jesus’ death and resurrection to new life. The fulfillment of this sharing and the centre of our Christian lives is our Communion in the body and blood of Jesus the Christ, our Eucharist. Thus is broken the ancient blood curse of death that seeped into creation as Cain murdered Abel.
But sometimes we also, like the Roman centurion, are not ready to receive Jesus into our hearts and into our life. Now we are called once more to a time of preparation, time to create whitespace in our lives. Just as whitespace on a page or screen creates beauty by giving your eyes a place to rest, spiritual whitespace of those sacred spaces to enjoy soul rest with God. This is the spiritual whitespace that calls us back to a beautiful life of peace, joy, and confidence.