“Do not be afraid Mary for you have found favor with God
Behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son
And you shall name him Jesus” Luke 1:30
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT DECEMBER 3, 2017
Advent is a time of waiting on the Lord, his time, his place when God enters human history. Waiting is hard just ask the children waiting for Christmas gifts or adults waiting for a raise or promotion or healing. God’s time is not our time nor should it be since He knows so much better when to interact, when to answer our prayers and how best to answer them for best results.
The Advent season in its liturgical observance is not only a remembrance of the Incarnation, God becoming flesh, but also anticipatory of God coming at the end of history in the Person of Christ the King who rules over everything forever and ever. The season of Advent reminds us that history is not complete until the second coming of Jesus. All will end well and if it isn’t then it is not the end. Howm we deal with time was addressed by Jesus telling us to remain awake and always be prepared.
Are we awake? Are we prepared? Or are we like the people of Noah’s time who ignored any calls to repentance even to the time Noah entered the Ark? Or are we prepared like our Blessed Mother who said to the Angel Gabriel, “Be it done according to your word.”
We know Jesus’ life on this earth began in the womb, at the moment of his conception. And, so we know that the first part of his journey among us – the first part of the Word of God taking flesh and dwelling among us – was nine months in his mother’s womb. Oh, how Mary and Joseph must have waited in anticipation!
From the moment the life of Jesus began in Mary’s womb by the power of the Holy Sprit, Jesus became one with us. He didn’t magically appear as an adult. He began his life journey as a tiny, bundle of cells. We can imagine those cells multiplying so quickly, day by day and week by week – silently, imperceptibly. We can feel the gratitude welling up within us as we contemplate the unseen journey of Jesus being “knit” in his mother’s womb.
Though Son of God, he is becoming Son of Mary. We can imagine in this very fine development, Jesus is taking on her flesh, her cells, her shape, her looks, her heart. It is so slow, and yet, so planned. It is a journey which none of us can remember, but which every one of us took.
PRAYERFUL REFLECTION PONDER WELL!
Let us contemplate that profound solidarity with us which our Savior began even in the womb for us. This transition to a life born into this world. And, in these moments, we grow in gratitude; we grow in our longing for our relationship with Jesus to develop in intimacy and love.
Our praying is helped by our imagination. In this case, we are imagining something we know happened, but for which we have not usually had a visual image. Today we know so much more about the development in the womb through ultrasound images. Let this profound reality touch our hearts and celebrate Jesus’ entry into our world and to welcome Jesus into our hearts now. Come, Lord Jesus. We await your coming!”
in this contemplation, we want to slow down our reflection and enter into the details and to acknowledge the silence, the slow growth, the precious reality of our Lord and Savior’s taking on life as a human being.
If we begin by imagining Jesus’ foot in the womb, we can begin to savor, with wonder and awe the reality of this gift. We can picture Mary washing this little foot, right after giving birth to Jesus and laying him in the manger. We can imagine that this tiny foot became the foot which walked our earth. With this foot, he learned to walk. Perhaps this foot was sandaled most of his life. Perhaps this foot was stubbed on the carpenter’s bench in Joseph’s workshop. This is the foot which left home and headed to the Jordan to be baptized by John. This foot stumbled along the way to his Crucifixion, where this foot was nailed to a cross – all for us.
We can imagine his hands growing in the womb, slowly becoming the hands which first touched Mary’s face and Joseph’s beard. This little hand developed into the hand that learned to be a carpenter, With this hand, he embraced children and offered his tender touch to the sick and sinners , the hands that washed his disciples feet We know one day that he took the bread and the wine in this same hand and, giving thanks to God, gave it to his disciples, saying “This is my body. This is my blood.” And, the next day, His outstretched hands were nailed to a cross – all for us.
As we contemplate Jesus, growing in the womb, becoming our servant Savior, it is touching to imagine his developing face. This profile of a face in the womb is the merest suggestion of the growth of the human face of our God with us. He would already be taking on his mother’s features and developing her eyes. He’d have her nose, her chin, her ears too.
When he was a baby, he must have cried and felt hunger and he must laughed and smiled a lot. We can give thanks for the loving face of Jesus, which tenderly interacted with many who had the privilege of seeing it in his lifetime. This is the same face which was spat upon and was covered with blood from the mocking crown of thorns, all for us.
As we conclude this contemplation of Jesus in the womb, we pause for a moment to reflect upon his heart, which developed, just like our hearts did, but which became not only the organ which pumped blood to invigorate the rest of his body, but which became the very image of his self-sacrificing love.
This little heart became a heart big enough to love sinners, the sick, the marginal. and pierced for love of us. To Thomas, putting his hand in that pierced side, Jesus said, “blessed are those who have not seen yet believed!”
Lord, Jesus, we thank you for these moments of grace in which you have opened our eyes to await your coming to us with expectant hope. Just as Mary was expecting to deliver you into this world, we hope to receive you into our hearts. We give you thanks for the love you showed us on earth and in the Eucharist and the Sacraments which continue to nourish us and sustain us. Help us to open our hearts to your healing mercy and love. Come to us, Lord.Jesus!
(I would like to thank Creighton University’s Online Ministries for their format for today’s Advent reflecton.)
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