Cusp-a point of transition, as from one historical period to the next;
the borders between the twelve astrological signs.
You are considered to be "on the cusp" if you were born
within a day or two of the beginning or end of any sign.

The Rocky Mountains, Lander's Peak, 1863; Albert Bierstadt

17 December 2011

Fourth Sunday of Advent-B

Readings of the Day

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin's name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
"Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."
Luke 1:26-28

The Annunciation, Russian icon, 14th Century


My son, Charles, recently completed the Kairos retreat for seniors. I am proud to say he was one of the student leaders, selected by his peers his junior year so he could prepare for this year. This retreat comes at just the right time as the seniors are completing their last few months before heading off to college and careers.
Kairos means “at just the right time” or in a more spiritual sense “in God’s time.”The dominant theme of Advent is a time of preparation, anticipation, and waiting. In our culture this can be very difficult. We are conditioned to have everything right now, right when we want it, and we become agitated if we are told we must wait. Patience is a virtue that has gone out of vogue in our day. Patience, however, is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.
In the first reading and again in the Psalm King David is promised that his heir shall take his throne and his kingdom will endure forever.
"I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
I have sworn to David my servant:
Forever will I confirm your posterity
and establish your throne for all generations." (Psalm 90)
In the second reading Paul speaks of:
“The revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages
now manifested through the prophetic writings and,
[now carried out] according to the command of the eternal God.” (Romans)
All of this done in God’s time and we know that for the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day (2 Peter 3:8). The promise made to Abraham, renewed with Moses, and proclaimed by the prophets came to fulfillment with the birth of Jesus.
Today’s gospel should be very familiar. We just heard it proclaimed ten days ago on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In fact, it is proclaimed at all the feasts involving Mary, but it is most appropriately read on the feast of the Annunciation, March 25 the conception of Jesus nearly nine months ago. What is God’s time to a woman during her pregnancy? It cannot be speeded up; it must be waited out until the time of her delivery. She and her husband and family must be patient.
What is God’s time to a recovering alcoholic or drug abuser? Once he finally becomes aware of the pain he has caused his loved ones and himself.  He cannot repair the damage done overnight. He must be patient.
What is God’s time to a healthy twelve year old boy who leaves for vacation with his family in July when they are in a horrible accident and finally returns home in December, struggling to regain his strength and vigor? He and his family face years of therapy. They must be patient.
What is God’s time to us in our lives, in our struggles and challenges and longings? We must strive with faith, hope, and love. We must be patient.
The good news is that God’s time has come with Jesus who is here and now, and who is yet to come. What are we doing while we wait? How must we be patient?
Father, all-powerful God,
your eternal Word took flesh on our earth
when the Virgin Mary placed her life
at the service of your plan.
Lift our minds in watchful hope
to hear the voice which announces his glory
and open our minds to receive the Spirit
who prepares us for his coming.

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