Many paths in this world lead us into exiles ever farther away from God. For many persons these exiles have been too long and hard. So many distractions have taken our gaze from God, and Mother Jerusalem has mourned our loss. Advent is a time of returning and Mother Church, the new Israel, desires to see us coming back. For those who return, she is Mother Jerusalem rising with an indescribable joy. As she sees us coming she places upon her head the mitre of the living God who has done this great work. She yearns to embrace us.
How might we let God lead us back from our exiles this Advent? Many exiles are self-imposed. There is the exile of bitterness toward family, friend or the church. There is the heart-possession of persons, things or dreams that rightfully should be reserved for God alone who satisfies. There is the exile of work and toil that has pushed out prayer, love and our best selves. It is time to return home to Jerusalem.
Only God can fully work this great happening, if we let him. Rise up now and begin to go home to a life closer to God, perhaps through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The church waits for her children and she echoes the words of St. Paul in the second reading as she says with him, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.”
Questions for Reflection
1. What are the exiles I have allowed myself to be led into?
2. Can I let myself begin the journey back home?
3. Will I trust and let God begin and finish this wondrous work in me?
Fr. Vander Steeg is pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greenville, and St. Edward Parish, Mackville.