Cross and Anchors statue in foreground with snow covered campus

December 5, 2021

Sunday of the Second Week of Advent
By Father Tony Grasso, C.S.C., Professor of English

From Darkness to Light: Discovering Our Hope

Advent is often associated with two concepts: a sense of patiently waiting, and a focus on new light, such as the bright star which brought the shepherds and Magi to the manger on that first Christmas. They knew something extraordinary had transpired even if they didn’t have the words to describe the event.

How often lately, during these days of pandemic, have we been rendered speechless, like Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, at his son’s naming, unable to find the words to deal with the sudden losses and privation associated with the spread of COVID 19? How do we now transform that sadness and sense of being overwhelmed into a more dynamic energy and put a positive “spin” on what had been occurring for many months? Can we actually find the light of Advent during this protracted, often tense, time?

None of us have enjoyed being unable to spend time with friends and family or being worried about their well-being. It was a hurdle to adjust to the absence, and to suspend our normal, often taken-for-granted, daily activities. Having to re-learn patience in an era when everything is at our disposal in seconds hasn’t been easy, but it was one of the lights of dealing with the pandemic-wrought separation. We have all become TOO demanding and TOO impatient in many aspects of our lives; we have assumed that we’ll always have and get what we want, when we want it. This negative fallout from our technologically advanced way of life needed to GO so we could begin to recapture who and what matters in life.

Having to wait patiently, even to spend time with those we love, or not being able to do things whenever we wanted to, reminds us of how lucky we are. Many people throughout the globe simply don’t ever have that luxury. Having to do without things and be without proximity to those we like and love, hopefully means that now we appreciate them MORE than we did before. Our opportunity to spend time with them reinforces the idea that we have many gifts in all aspects of our lives, something we may have lost sight of.

These recent months have, I trust, made us grateful again, and perhaps even our relationship with God has altered. I hope we have felt his grace more frequently. May we continue to relish time with those we cherish, and be thankful for the Lord’s presence, ever in and around us. With his help we have transformed privation into an experience of grace. As the prophet Baruch says today: he has leveled our difficult pathways and gathered us back together after so long an absence.

May we be open to experiencing even more light and insight during this sacred season.
Come, Lord Jesus, Come! Fill our hearts with the joy of your love.

To read today's readings and all readings this Advent Season, please visit https://bible.usccb.org/.