Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 10:7)
Advent is a season of nuance that at times seems contradictory. On the one hand, we're told to be awake, to be active and to be prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ at Christmas and at every moment of our lives.
On the other hand, we are told be to still, to be calm and to slow down as we wait for the Lord to appear in our midst.
This is the great nuance not just of Advent, but of the Christian life. Jesuits and practitioners of Ignatian spirituality often refer to "contemplatives in action."
This is the true vocation of lay men and women in the Church: we must both be hearers and doers of the Word.
One divorced from the other isn't authentic lay Christianity. On one hand, we can get so stuck inside ourselves and turn Christianity into a spa therapy that offers us healing and peace until we arrive in heaven, but never really challenges us to live in this world and to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters.
One the other hand, we can turn ourselves into mere activists without a guiding compass and begin to imagine ourselves as the achiever of our own projects, not realizing that the source and summit of all we do is God himself. Here egoism and burnout grow, while true discipleship and joy diminish.
In today's Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples to do two things: to proclaim the Kingdom of heaven and to heal those who are broken.
In Jesus, heaven and earth have collided. The Kingdom of God is no longer just a realm lightyears away, but a reality in our own lives, made present to us when we experience Christ in the Sacraments and serve him in our brothers and sisters.
As you journey through your first full weekend of Advent, ask yourself: where have I seen evidence of heaven and earth colliding? Where is God blooming in the deserts of my life?
Remember that God is available to us every day, even in the most mundane details of our lives. One the early Jesuits, Jeromino Nadal, said it so well: "we are not monks! The world is our house!"
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