Our Self-Centered Circle of Love

(For the audio version of this blog, please visit: http://brothersinchristcmf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Mass-Blog-for-the-1st-Sunday-in-Advent-2021.mp3)

It’s Advent, and children are already anticipating what they’ll get in those beautifully-wrapped Christmas boxes. But the season of advent invites all of us to adopt outside-the-box thinking when it comes to our relationship with the Divine. Great theologians have described God as “an infinite sphere, whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.” That gives us license to be self-centered—if that means adopting an attitude of service rooted in the New Covenant that broke God out of that box called an ark and into an arc without measure. We share that infinite space with the selfish spirit that says “send me.” 

In this Sunday’s first reading for Advent (Jer 33:14-16), the prophet Jeremiah takes us into the center of that spiritual circle from which sprouted the just shoot we call Jesus. He gives voice to the Holy Spirit who gives life to the family tree rooted there, offering humanity an unending source of nourishment. It never ends because we are its supply chain.

I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. … Just as the host of heaven cannot be numbered and the sands of the sea cannot be counted, so I will multiply the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister to me.

St. Paul, inspired by the same spirit who strengthened the circle of friends Christ called his disciples, passed on that spiritual contagion with this blessing to the Thessalonians (1 Thes 3:12—4:2):

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.

Sunday’s reading from the gospel of Luke (Lk 21:25-28, 34-36) has Jesus offering an Advent message for everyone anticipating his ultimate Christmas gift. He tells us it will require the shared strength of the infinite spiritual circle comprising the Arc of his New Covenant to help us stay centered amidst our finite globe’s disorienting distractions:

“For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth,” he tells us. “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

We’ll find him standing at the center of that infinite circle of love he calls his Kingdom.

–Tom Andel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *