Last night our (bilingual) parish Liturgy Planning Committee met to look at an overall plan for Advent. Our conversation began with sharing how the current climate of rudeness, incivility, anger, and arrogance that has seemingly swept our nation in recent weeks paints an even-darker-than-usual-picture as we approach the end of the Church Year. (Kanye West grabbing the microphone at the awards, Michael Jordan badmouthing at his induction into the H of F, a US Representative yelling out that the President is a liar, and more.)
While our evening of brainstorming through the readings surfaced many possibilities for a response (many of them rooted in the behavioral prescriptions in the second readings - about how we are to be ready, pure and blameless when Christ comes again) we adjourned to ruminate until October in hopes of putting something "final" together by that time.
It came to me that liturgy planning for each season is not only for the current cycle of readings, for the time of the year, but also for responding to the signs of the times. In these times of egomaniacal rudeness, of raised fists at rallies and parents who are phobic that a president might "indoctrinate' their school-age children by speaking to them, with whispered warnings about racism, an economic downturn that is stressing and depressing... these are indeed the times that try our souls... the true signs that we are, and have been since the beginning of the life of the Church, in tribulation.
Advent this year comes, as always, in a dark, dangerous time. While we wait for the light of Christ to enliven us, the question is what do we do in the meantime and how do we do it in the dark?