instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Happy All-Things-New Year!

The homilist today said, "We are waiting for a Person, not a thing."

This led to an exhortation for parents to teach their children that Advent isn't about getting ready to receive gifts, but getting ready to receive the Presence of Christ. If what the Church sets aside as a penitential season is experienced only as a build-up to getting stuff, then kids will be empty on December 26 -- not to mention at age 26, when they will be disappointed in God for not living up to their expectations.

For my part, I heard "we are waiting for a Person, not a thing" in the context of today's Gospel reading. The  mini-Apocalypse of the Synoptics (Mt 24, Mk 13, Lk 21) is introduced by people asking when the destruction of the Temple, which Jesus foretold, would happen. (Matthew records the disciples asking a more expansive question -- ‚ÄúTell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?" -- which may just reflect the idea that the destruction of the Temple signifies the end of the age.) What is anticipated is the destruction of a thing, not the arrival of a Person.

But even if the end of the world is coincident with, and inseparable from, the Second Coming of Christ, I'd say that "waiting for the end of the world" constitutes a different, and inferior, state than "waiting for the return of Jesus."