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· Fr Phil Paxton

To all,

This Sunday begins the season of Advent. It is a season of anticipation and preparation. We not only prepare to celebrate the holy day of Christmas; we prepare ourselves for when Jesus comes again. Our readings for Sunday speak more to getting ready for Jesus’ Second Coming. In our Gospel reading (Mark 13:33-37), Jesus says, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come….What I say to you, I say to all; ‘Watch!’” We are to be vigilant in doing what Jesus calls us to do in anticipation of His coming.

As I was reflecting on this season, I was thinking about a concept or an image that would convey the kind of anticipation that is part of Advent. It didn’t take long for me to come up with something. We are to have the same eagerness for Jesus that we have for a vaccine for Covid 19. The manufacture of a vaccine has been put on a fast track. The hopes of many people rest on the arrival of a safe and effective vaccine. It can’t get here soon enough.

See what I mean? Would we be able to say, “Jesus can’t get here soon enough.”? Are we willing to make room for Jesus as much as we are willing to avail ourselves of something we hope would get us back to a more normal life?

Perhaps we could even think of the love of God in Jesus Christ as being a different kind of vaccine for us. Trusting in God’s love could vaccinate us from fear or anxiety or envy or greed. Following Jesus’ command to love would help us towards justice and equality and peace.

Are we willing to let the love of Jesus in and flow throughout our body, mind, and spirit? Just as it can be with taking a shot of vaccine, it can hurt sometimes to love as Jesus loves, because of the sacrifices we make for others. In this case, the pain is worth it.

The metaphor of a vaccine has its limits. We get a flu shot only once a year. We don’t really know how often we make need to take a Covid-19 vaccine. But Jesus’ love is available to us all the time. Advent reminds us to open ourselves ever deeper to Jesus, ever more alert to do God’s will, ever more willing to love.

Just as the nurse cleans the spot where the vaccine will be given, may we clean our hearts to prepare ourselves to be injected with an even greater dose of God’s love in Jesus Christ.

I welcome any comments or questions. Thanks for your time.

In Christ Who Is to Come,

Phil, CP