Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Franciscan Advent

Advent’s vision and energy for fuller birth I find can be helpful for us as we engage our Franciscan future.  Image Advent as a mountain that God beckons us to climb.  And as we climb, let us free our imaginations to vision our future, the future of God coming into our present.

The expression of time as divided into “the already and the not yet” is for me the best understanding of eschatology.  The fullness that came and comes in Jesus is “the already”, the “not yet” is what we are called to.

To me, and I’m sure to you as well, no tradition, no spirituality holds a more future-making potential than one we were graced to become part of.  Europe never saw the likes of the Franciscan Movement.  It took hold as nothing else did.  Its power still resides in that tradition that we claim to be our heritage.

“…how beautiful the feet of those who proclaim good news…”   The human is God’s chosen dwelling place!  That is the good news that we bring to all we do and say!

As you are aware, in Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the eschatological is intertwined —or explicated within — the apocalyptic.  On the mountain of Advent God will show us not only the fuller birth that is open to us in this moment of our history, but God will also bring to our hearts places where apocalyptic images are so raw and pressing.  Think of Yemen, of Syria, and so many other places and situations that come to your mind so readily and so painfully.

We face our history!  We face it for we are one human family!  An image that sears my awareness is, “My country is at the center of every economic, environmental, and military disaster the world over!”

As Advent begins, Mark becomes our gospel companion.  Mark as no other caught the immediacy of Jesus.  May his immediacy catch us up too.  Mark’s Gospel is a primer on discipleship.  How fortunate and blessed we are to live in this communion of disciples!  In the immediacy, in the intensity of Francis’ following of Jesus may we join together as one.  Jesus calls us to collaboration.  A new Franciscan Movement awaits our collaboration.

Friar Matt Tumulty has had the richness of living in two Provinces, Holy Name (NY) and Santa Barbara (CA).  He served for over 5 years as a missionary in Japan and worked with a Small Eucharistic Community for fifteen years in San Anselmo, CA. In Portland, OR he helped start Franciscan Enterprise which renovated abandoned houses with volunteers to house low-income families. He also once served as a co-pastor to a Lutheran/Roman Catholic joint community and ministered to the homeless and to migrants at the Arizona-Mexico border.  He is presently retired and living at Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA.

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