On the third Sunday of Advent, I would like us to contemplate two images. That of the ‘frozen snow’ and the advent wreath with growing lights. All this in the light of our entrance antiphon, which stands for our third, special light on it: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.’ (Phi 4:4-5)
Janos Pilinszky has a captivating image in one of his poems (Vesztőhely télen). When turning the winter landscape into a poetic image. He speaks of the frozen snow as ‘exiled sea’. ‘…And what about the snow, the winter snow? Perhaps, a sea in exile, the silence of God.’
We are the ‘frozen humanity’, immovable, idle, because of our frozenness. Owing to our sins, lack of faith, and now, because of Covid-19, we cannot return to our origins. This origin, as Gaudete Sunday reveals, is rejoicing. The experience of joy, the experience of shared joy, which makes us humans. As we prayed in our opening prayer, ‘O God, wo see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship
and glad rejoicing.’
Our second image, the growing lights of the advent wreath, shift our emphasis to this holy joy. Today we are anticipating it from Christmas Eve. So, Advent feels like a season when God, whom we made silent, because of the distance from Him, suddenly speaks again. Isaiah’s words, with an unsurpassable beauty, show how our God comes to us and covers us with the warmth of his love. ‘Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God…’ (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24) In Isaiah we could fully face the source of this melting, the Sun of Love, our coming Messiah. ‘The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison; to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.’ (Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11)
But advent does something more. It makes us fertile again, in order to bring that change into the world, which our previous (present) frozenness prevented. This Sunday, in the simplest way, connects us with Jesus’ example. We just need to imitate his acts, his gesture and thoughts. Let us join him in bringing good news to the poor, consolation to the broken hearted, freedom to situations. So, we can see our Advent preparation is yet not finished.
How can we sum up our two images? Perhaps, by realising, that Advent is our threshold between our being a ‘frozen see’ and our ‘melting exile’. And today, we were allowed to visit, to have a glimpse, even if for only a day, of the full joy when soon, our Saviour will have been born.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..