“Ready or Not, Here I Come!”
This past Sunday was the First Sunday of Advent – our New Year’s Day in the Church. I was visiting the parish in which I was raised, St. Patrick’s Parish in Spokane, WA. The homilist, Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire, spoke of his experience on Thanksgiving Day with his family. His nieces organized a game of Hide and Go Seek. It’s a game we played many times in my family as children, and so had he.
In this game, one person is chosen to be “It” and everyone else runs and hides. The person who is “It” counts to 30, shouts, “Ready or not, here I come” and then tries to find the other ones who are hiding. When a person is found, he or she becomes the next “It” and the game continues. Sometimes the game goes on until all are found. Other times those found become “prisoners” of the one doing the seeking. In some versions, if a person who has not yet been found gets back to the base of the one who is “It”, all get to hide again and that original person continues to be “It”.
Fr. Kenny suggested that the spiritual life can be like this childhood game. Sometimes we even try to hide from the Lord – to pretend that maybe we won’t be found. But whatever we do, at some point in our lives, the Lord is going to say to us, “Ready or not, here I come.” Advent is a time to remember that and begin again to prepare our hearts and minds to meet the Lord – because He is coming, and when the time comes, we can’t say, “Just a minute, I’m not ready yet!”
So, whether the coming is our individual meeting with the Lord at the moment of our death, or the one at the end of time, Advent is a time to remember that the Kingdom is coming, the Lord is returning and the world as we know it will pass away.
Advent is a good time to make time for prayer, whether 2 minutes stolen from a busy day at work or 15 minutes of “walking prayer” or a Rosary offered at home or in church. Time spent remembering our Lord and King, speaking from our hearts to Him, then listening to His response will bring us closer to the Kingdom.
Another good thing to do in Advent is to look closely at our lives and see what is excess. What can be cut out to make room for something better? What can be shared with someone who is in need? It needn’t be something huge. But it’s pretty likely that most of us have something we can share or something that we don’t really need to be doing. Making space in our lives for the Lord’s coming brings a richness that material things cannot ever fill.
Finally, Fr. Kenny suggested that we look to Jesus’ mother, Mary, as a model and a helper in this great journey of Advent. She waited for his birth for 9 months. She prepared for the coming of her child. She raised him, loved him, cared for him and then stood by him as he entered into his adult ministry. At the cross, she stood and waited as he died. According to tradition, she was part of the community that welcomed him after the Resurrection and received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. As our “big sister” in faith, she can help us to get ready for the Lord’s coming.
So, this Advent season, I invite you to join me in this “game” of preparing for the Lord’s coming. When we hear, “Ready or not, here I come”, may we all be ready to be found by our great Lord and King.