Thursday of the First Week of Advent
(Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7:21.24-27)
Although we think of Advent as a time of waiting, it is an active period. We should be more like parents waiting for their first child to be born than like commuters queuing for a bus. We want to be busy preparing ourselves for Christ’s coming at the end of time. We should avoid complaining about what is taking him so long to arrive.
The readings today give a sense of what we are to do. Isaiah speaks of a nation that is just. We are to make laws and build up communities to assure that the rights of all are fulfilled. In the gospel Jesus admonishes his followers to base their lives on the Sermon on the Mount which concludes with this passage. We are to carry out his righteousness by conforming our hearts to his selfless will.
One obstacle to the Advent project is Christmas itself. Rather than concerning ourselves with improving society, we too often get caught up in vain pursuits. Shopping that overindulges, partying that is done to excess, fantasizing about superfluous “needs” may all prevent us from being ready for Christ when he arrives as savior and judge.