The Unexpected Answer

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

The promise had been long standing, passed from generation to generation. Unimaginable hardships, persecution, exile, and slavery were all part of the story and, still, the promise was recounted and cherished. There would arrive a deliverer, a savior, a messiah, a king of such might all would be resolved and a bright future would be born. This was the story of the suffering Israelite community who longed for the
arrival of the Messiah.

Fast-forward more than 2000 years and you and I look out at a fractured world with countless people suffering in nations across the globe. We want to look away and pretend it is not that bad and yet we know otherwise. The world needs help beyond the United Nations or any individual nation although all people and nations need to be a part of creating a future of hope.

It seems to me there is a parallel between the suffering and longing of the Jewish community of old and our present day reality. Our Creator God knows our human condition intimately and 2000 years ago responded with the answer to our needs and longings with the birth of an infant in an impoverished village called Bethlehem.

The world then and now looks for a temporal solution for modern day crises. We look for presidents, prime ministers, kings, revolutions, generals and armies. While all of that plays a vital role in governance and order, none of that is enough. It never has been and never will be.

The needed solutions come from within and not from without. It is within a faith, a spiritual relationship with our God that each of us can find our footing, our purpose, and a way of living that gives birth to hope. For Christians this is found in Jesus Christ, His teaching, His life, and His friendship.

This Sunday is the first Sunday of the four-week Advent season that leads us to Christmas. The readings in Sacred Scripture recall the prophecies of old fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. If we listen carefully to the cries of our ancestors 2ooo years ago, they are startlingly similar to the longings of this age. We too are desperate and longing for light in our darkness.

For every one of us this is a Kairos moment. Refreshing our relationship with Jesus Christ offers a transformative moment for our own well-being, our family and friends and, in fact, for our world.

Fr. Ronan