November 26, 2022
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 508

Revelation 22:1-7
Psalm 95:1-2, 3-5, 6-7AB
Luke 21:34-36

Beginning Advent

Preparing for Advent


Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Prayer in the days before Advent




If you grew up reading Harry Potter, or read it to your kids, you’ll recognize that catchphrase of Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody’s. (I use it as a terrible pun in choir rehearsals when the singers need to attend to diction: “Consonant vigilance!” It still makes a few people chuckle.) The book character, the magical equivalent of a weathered FBI agent, was famous for his magic eye that constantly spun and saw through solid objects to keep him aware of his surroundings and possible threats. For him, “constant vigilance” came from a place of fear and a career full of surprise attacks on his life.

Even though I always think of that catchphrase when this Gospel reading comes up, I don’t think Jesus’ admonition to “be vigilant at all times” means he wants us to be constantly on edge or to operate out of fear. He’s talking about keeping our priorities straight, our hearts fixed on the Kingdom, our feet following him as “the people he shepherds.” It’s about being ready to meet him at any time: “Behold, I am coming soon.” It’s about living in a discerning way, towards John’s vision of life-giving waters and the fruitful, healing tree of life

The antiphon for the responsorial psalm today uses one of the oldest expressions in Christian tradition. “Marana tha!” means “Our Lord-come!” or “Our Lord is coming!” in Aramaic. It is both a plea for the Lord to come and an exclamation that the Lord is on his way. Both senses look towards the end-times with hope. There is also a third way to express this phrase: maran atha” means “our Lord is come,” affirming Christ’s presence already with us. Thus, the expression captures the timeless and paradoxical essence of Advent. Christ is coming, and Christ is already here. We are a people waiting for the Lord and abiding in the Lord’s continued presence with us. We long for the fullness of the Kingdom of justice and peace, and we rejoice that Christ has already saved us and proclaimed the Kingdom present in our midst. Maranatha: already, not yet, abiding in faith. Advent. How will you prepare, abide, and rejoice this season?

For the upcoming season, please enjoy this Spotify playlist of “Advent Carols & Songs.” (Yes, Advent carols! They don’t get enough airtime during December but can be just as spritely as Christmas carols in the dark months of the year.) I will continue to curate it throughout the season; currently it includes four or five different arrangements of some Advent favorites.

*For the hard-core Harry Potter fans: yes, I know this catchphrase appears mainly from the villain who was impersonating Moody in the fourth book. It’s still Moody’s catchphrase. I am not attempting to compare Jesus to either character.

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