Message from Fr. Paul Vuturo

St. Louis Church

Waiting for the Lord

Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” premiered in 1953– a two act play in which nothing happens twice. The two main characters, Vladimir, and Estragon are waiting endlessly and, conceivably, pointlessly, for an unseen figure named Godot who may or may not actually exist. The play represents an existentialist parable about the absurdity of life. “Godot” may represent meaning, purpose, or fulfillment in life, perhaps even God. But Godot never arrives, and the characters never understand what their lives are all about. On the other hand, we Christians believe that God has indeed arrived in our world and filled our lives with meaning and hope. Advent celebrates the coming of God in Christ.

Christ came. God came into the world in the person of Jesus, the Son of God, who became human two thousand years ago as he was born into the world. Jesus came fulfilling promises to the Jews, but he came not just as Savior for Jews but also for Gentiles, non-Jews. Jesus embodies the universal embrace of God’s love for all people. The Fourth Sunday of Advent talks about the historical details of his coming to the family of Joseph and Mary.

Christ comes. Through his resurrection and ascension to Lordship at the Father’s right hands, Jesus entered a new relationship with the human race. No longer limited by space and time, as he was during his earthly ministry, this Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth, remains present to his people everywhere as their personal Savior. Jesus calls each believer to a personal relationship with himself. Through the power of his Holy Spirit, Jesus transforms us as individuals and as a community into faithful disciples. The Second and Third Sundays of Advent present the character of John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus. To receive him John called people of his time and all of us to repentance, that is, the realignment of lives toward the values of the Kingdom of God.

Christ will come. The resurrection of Jesus revealed the ultimate destiny of the human race. God, not death, has the last word in the story of our lives, as the Father had the last word in the story of Jesus resurrection and eternal life. The future horizon of our existence is not a death of nothingness but the eternal, boundless life of God’s kingdom.

Advent weaves these past, present, and future comings together. The Lord who came in the past, who comes to us in the present in Word and Sacrament and community, will come in glory to gather us into his Father’s kingdom. Scriptures and liturgies of Advent and Christmas challenge us to meet, embrace and love the Lord who comes to us every day of our lives. Advent and Christmas do not let us get stuck sentimentalizing or romanticizing a baby in the manger. These sacred seasons lead us to meet the risen Christ as he summons us to faith, hope and love.

Fr. Paul