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An Advent Reflection


Br. Gregory Peebles, CMJ

Like it or not, waiting is just part of being a person, no matter how much tech we throw at our lives and reduce it. Uncomfortable as it often seems to have to wait, Time is built into the experience being a person—so what are we supposed to do with this stuff?


Christianity—with its fully-God/fully-human Jesus, victorious in defeat and making us more alive through his death—serves a great feast of the emptiness of paradox. Consequently, as Christians, it is good for us to learn how to deal with seeming irreconcilables*.


 “Hurry Up and Wait” is the paradox particular to Advent, the season in which we both scurry to make ready while also trying to slow down so as to be able to recognize God when God breaks into our lives where we did not expect that to happen. Crazy-making as it sounds, this conundrum is one that, with a little attention, is very recognizable in postmodern daily life, and one that we solve fairly regularly.


As mentioned earlier, technology has virtually eliminated waiting in so many aspects of our lives. (And thank the saints and angels for it!) But! Some amount of waiting is inevitable, and what we do with it helps or hinders our relating to the Divine.


Most people I know use what little empty time the frenzied world will yet allow in passively scrolling a social media feed on a mobile device. That’s just what lots of folks do now when there’s empty time.  No judgement.


Walking in the spirit, though, asks that we bring light to the darkness and make conscious those things that were unconscious.


Consequently, as we await the Presence (Gr. παρουσία ->Lat. advent: “coming; arrival”), we have options about how we’ll use the Time.


We may sleep it through, as do the foolish virgins in the parable we hear later in the season: to be perhaps unpleasantly surprised; or we may, as John the Baptist chose, wake up and start making trouble for oppressive power structures, so that we and the whole world are a ready banquet for the Prince of Peace who never comes as the expected King of Anything; rather, God arrives as the poor and despised, and in yet another paradox, is already among us—indeed! Christ has never left us, and the deep lesson Advent would have us learn is that we are the ones who must arrive to this understanding.

*Cheat sheet: nothing is irreconcilable! “…and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth…” (Col. 1:20) The Prince of Peace has done the reconciling on the cross, wherein is resolved all paradox.

Check It Out!


Chicago Catholic, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago, published an article on Maryville's St. Monica Recovery Home and their good work and ministry-- and features Br. Jonathan Wheat, CMJ! Read the article here.

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