December 15, 2013
The message of Advent is clear: Christ is coming. And, if Christ is coming, Christ is coming to us. So how do we respond to this news? Let me put it this way. What if you were to receive a text message from Jesus that says, “I’m on my way. I’ll be at your house by 8:00 tonight.” What would you do? Well I think most of us would prepare for Jesus’ arrival as we would for any other guest. We would want to make sure that our house was in order. We would not want Jesus to come in and see clothes lying on the floor and dirty dishes in the sink. We would rush around trying to clean up the mess. And, if you are like me, you might have in your house a closet that that is very helpful when guests arrive, a closet in which you can hide the mess, in which you can throw all the old magazines and junk lying around and then close the door. Then when the guests come in everything is neat and orderly. The last thing you want your guest to see is the junk you have hidden in the closet.
But Jesus is not an ordinary guest. Jesus is not coming to us to see our clean house and orderly lives. Jesus, unlike other guests, is coming for the mess. This becomes clear in today’s gospel as Jesus describes his ministry to the disciples of John. He says that he is about making the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers clean. Jesus is not coming for the neat and orderly. Jesus is coming for the wounded and the broken. When Jesus comes into our life he is interested in the mess. He wants to see what we have in the closet, because his mission is to fix and heal.
If this is the reason that Jesus is coming to us, we should not be afraid to show him the brokenness of our lives. Our role as the host is to show him our grief and our anger, our loneliness and our loss. We need to allow Jesus to touch our wounds, and, as to a doctor say, “Here is where it hurts.” It is only when we show Christ our fear, our selfishness, our prejudice, that he is able to change us. Today’s second reading from James is clear and confident: the coming of Christ is at hand. Since Christ is coming, we should be ready to welcome him not by hiding our hurt but by setting it out, not by covering our brokenness but by exposing it to Christ’s love.
Let us then together raise our voices in expectation.
Come Lord Jesus.
Welcome to my life.
Here is the mess.