What kind of things do you look forward to? I think it’s pretty interesting the difference between what we look forward to as kids and what we look forward to as adults. Kids look forward to their birthdays, but as we get older, we start to dread them. Kids look forward to the last day of school and the excitement of their summer vacation. Parents actually look forward to that first day of school, when they can finally enjoy that moment of quiet for once!
So what are we looking forward to in our faith? Are we doing all this just to make ourselves feel good? I hope not! Ultimately, our purpose here on earth is (and say it with me, Baltimore Catechism enthusiasts…) to know, love, and serve God in this life, and to be with him forever in the next. Our new translation of the Creed tries to remind us of that when it says “I look for the resurrection from the dead, and the life of the world to come.” The Resurrection and life everlasting: all that can sometimes seem a little distant, can’t it?
But each of us is called to constantly and joyfully look forward to that. That’s what we do during Advent, right? Think of your most joyful moment – the birth of your first child, your wedding day, your favorite Christmas when you got a Red Ryder BB gun. Those are great moments of joy. But those will be infinitely multiplied in the life to come because we will be sharing them with the one who gives them to us in the first place – God! So we truly should look forward to that. “Exspecto”, the Latin word that we translate to “look for” in the new translation implies a sort of anxious waiting and anticipation!
Believe it or not, we get a sense of that every time we go to Mass, whether on Sunday or during the week. Every time we go to Mass, a miracle happens: the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ (vocab word: transubstantiation). It may not seem like a miracle when there’s a screaming baby next to you, or when the priest can’t seem to find the end of the homily, but that is a moment when, for just a second, heaven touches earth. It’s that time when we share just a glimpse of the most intimate moment of being one with God.
Now that’s something I can look forward to! Can you? God’s blessings on each of you and your families as you celebrate Christmas this year, but don’t get too comfortable, because we’ll be back next week and moving on with the rest of the Mass!