Expect Jesus

Expect Jesus

Waiting with expectation

Mark 1:1-8, Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11, Psalm 84(85):9-14, 2 Peter 3:8-4

Expect Jesus in your lives. Expect Jesus when you pray. Expect Jesus when you call on His name… then listen. Listen to the voice of God and follow Him. 

Here we are in the second week of Advent. We find ourselves once again waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. We read the same scripture, we sing the same carols, we put up the crib, we light the advent wreath – perhaps we even hope that Jesus will make a change in us this year. 

We try to spend some time in Advent, between the mince pies and carol services, thinking about the year gone by and looking at the year ahead – we may even make some new year’s resolutions. 

But, if we’re honest, I think many people would say that Advent is repetitive. We go through the steps. We read the pew sheet about waiting, about hoping, about watching for the coming of Jesus… but we can’t really connect those things with what an awesomely powerful thing that is because we don’t really expect Jesus to show up.

Advent is not just about waiting, watching, and hoping. It is about expecting Jesus to show up and DO something in our lives. 

Mark’s Gospel starts with a shocking bang. It doesn’t start with a stable, shepherds, wise men, and lowing animals. It starts with John The Baptist telling people that Jesus is coming. 

I get the sense that John was speaking to people who were very much like we are in Advent. 

The Jewish people tell two stories over Passover. The story of creation and the story of Exodus – the freedom that Moses brought them from Egypt and how one day the Messiah will come and give them eternal freedom. 

They tell these stories each year and wait. 

Waiting is a good thing. 

When we wait, we can pray, we can examine our lives and we can prepare. We can ‘repent’, we can get our lives in order. Repentance means to turn in the right direction. It’s not about instantly giving up our sins and being perfect, it is a moment when we say we will turn in the right direction (towards Jesus) and start the hard work of getting ourselves ready for Him.

That waiting will breed hope.

Hope is a good thing.

When we hope we can pray, we can work at placing our Trust in God that when He does come that we’ll be ready for him. That in turning in the right direction we will have got our lives in the right place and in doing so made this earthly life better for the people around us. We can hope that in turning in the right direction, in praying, in waiting, we can live holy and saintly lives. 

Hope is a good thing because it turns in to longing, into desire for God.

When we wait and when we hope, when we desire God, when we turn to face the right direction, when we pray, we have a chance of hearing what God has to say. We have a chance to hear a voice that speaks of peace for those who know Him. 

That peace brings faithfulness. That faithfulness brings fruitful holy lives here on earth which in turn brings others to God and His love for them.

But, the thing about waiting, the thing about hope, the thing about desiring God is that when He then turns up in our lives we should be ready for it!

The key to this is expectation.

If we sit here throughout Advent and sing the same carols, listen to the same scripture, do the same things we do every year and nod along as the Priest talks of waiting, of hoping, of desiring, but we don’t actually EXPECT Jesus to turn up…. Then we’ll miss Him in our lives.

If we sit here during Mass and say the same words, sing the same responses, walk up and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus and don’t actually EXPECT Him to change us… Then we’ll miss Him.

But is expectation all there is to it?

John The Baptist was telling the Jewish people that the long years of waiting, of hoping, of longing were over and that now was the time to EXPECT Jesus. How did the people respond? 

They believed him! They prepared for the coming of a man who would free them from the oppression of the Roman Empire! In other words they believed, they EXPECTED, but they placed their own wants and desires on the man they were expecting. They created a Messiah who would do THEIR bidding, not God’s. 

They EXPECTED Jesus to come… but actually… they didn’t want Him to come THAT way.

When their expectations were dashed, they responded by killing Him, by turning on Him, by tearing down everything he had done here on earth and by saying… that wasn’t really Him… because he didn’t meet their expectations. Instead of turning in the right direction, they turned away from Him.

Our expectation, that comes built on the back of our waiting, of our hopefulness, of our desire for God MUST be an expectation of the coming of Jesus once again to take us home to our Father. 

It must be an expectation built on HIS will and not ours. It must be an expectation of hearing what the Lord God has to say. 

We must not pile onto Jesus our own desires, wants and expectations. We’re not here to give Him a list of things that we want this year.

We are here to kneel in front of the crib, to come and sit – to dwell – in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to listen in Expectation that Jesus will show up and change us. 

What does that change look like? At first it is repentance – turning in the right direction. Once we’re facing the right direction and we really expect Jesus to turn up at mass, when we really expect Jesus to turn up when we pray… when we really expect Jesus to be active in our lives – that’s when we start living holy lives – lives where we can hear what God is saying to us and do what God calls us to.

So this Advent I implore you to come to church, come to the various services we offer, to sing the same carols, to read the same scripture, to light the same advent wreath and to gaze on the same crib… but to do so with an expectation that Jesus really will turn up in your life and really will help you hear what God is saying to you and really will bring you peace.

Expect Jesus in your lives. Expect Jesus when you pray. Expect Jesus when you call on His name… then listen. Listen to the voice of God and follow Him. 


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