Advent; Ready To Embrace Our Father
Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year of grace. It invites us to be ready to embrace God wherever he comes to us. “Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come” (MK 13:33). Jesus is speaking about his second coming and warns us to be ready to embrace God.
There is a YouTube video that exemplifies how we should be ready to meet our heavenly Father when he comes to us on an unknow day and at an unknow hour. In the YouTube video, there is a 9 year old boy named Luca at Taekwondo practice. Luca is wearing boxing gloves and is blindfolded. He thinks the blindfold is part of the Taekwondo exercise. Luca is sparring with his trainer at practice when his father, Sergeant Rob Cesternino, steps in to replace the trainer. Sgt. Cesternino has been away on military deployment for the past ten months and he has arrived at his son’s Taekwondo class to surprise him. Luca, still blindfolded, is unaware that he is now sparing with his father and not his trainer. His Father playfully jabs at his son, Luca, and he says to him, “Keep your hands up ‘Shib.’” His father calls him by the nickname he gave him. When the boy hears, what he thinks is his father’s voice, he said in the form of a question, “Daddy?” Then, the boy rushes to take off his boxing gloves and untie the blindfold. The instance Luca sees his father standing in front of him, he bolts into his father’s arms with tears of joy. Luca clings to his father, burring his face in his chest, embracing him with love and happiness. His father had been deployed in military service and Luca did not know when he would return. But when he did, Luca was ready to embrace him.
Advent is the time for us to prepare to embrace our heavenly Father. We do not know when or where God will surprise us, but we are encouraged to be ready when he does. Jesus said:
“It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch…You do not know when the lord of the house is coming…May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping…I say to all: ‘Watch!’” (MK 13:33-37)
Luca did not know when his father was coming. He did not know that his father would come to him in the middle of his Taekwondo class, but when he did come, Luca was ready to embrace his father and bury his face in his chest.
So too we are called to be ready, to be watchful, so that when our heavenly Father comes to us on an unknown day and at an unknown place, we will be ready to run into his arms and embrace him with our love.
What the video does not show is the time before Luca’s father’s return. It does not show how Luca still had to maintain his daily responsibilities while waiting for his father’s arrival. He still had to go to school, do his homework, hang out with friends and family, go to Taekwondo practice, all while waiting for his father to return.
Isaiah 63:16 begins by saying, “For you are our father…Return for the sake of your servants, Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you.” Isaiah is prophesizing about the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He addresses God as an intimate Father, asking him to come down from heaven to help his people. We know that this prayer was answered in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Jesus came down from heaven so that we can go up to heaven through with and through him. Advent is the memorial celebration of the first time God came to us on earth, on Christmas day. But, it is also an invitation for us to be ready for him when he comes again in glory with all his angels at the end of time.
Saint Paul writes, “as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:3-9) As we wait for the coming of God our Father, we are to watch that we are not lacking in any spiritual gifts. Advent is a good time to take an inventory of our spiritual gifts and access how we are using them. Are we using our gifts and talents to serve God by serving our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and communities?
When God the Father comes to us at the end of our earthly lives, let us be ready to embrace him as young Luca was ready to embrace his father. While we are waiting for God’s return, let us keep busy with the work we have been given and continue to grow in holiness. This Advent, we wait and watch for the coming of God our Father and when he comes let us be ready to run into his arms and embrace him with love and tears of Joy!
Sergeant Surprises Son In Taekwondo Lesson