He Is Coming

An Advent preparation.
by By Mark Thelen, LC | Source:
Waiting for Mass, I look around the Church – it seems a motley crowd. A college student sits on the right hand side towards the front, his sandy hair cut closely to his head. He kneels attentively his hands folded in fervent prayer. An older couple only a few rows in front of me also on the right stand side-by-side in silent reflection, their grey heads slightly bowed. They are warmly wrapped against the cold.

Two kids sit right in front of me; their hair surely hasn’t seen a comb in quite some time. The younger one in a blue quilted jacket, from which only the hood of his black sweatshirt shows, cannot stop fidgeting. He rocks back and forth, puts his hands on the kneeler, takes them off, stands on his left foot, and then on the right. Heads turn and eyes drift over at the noise in the hushed Church. His brother about five years older stands at his side. In jeans and a sweater he leans slightly forward as if engaged in conversation.


Wandering through the seemingly endless halls of statues, busts, and an occasional sarcophagus – after about three hours, I had barely scratched the surface. Each sculpture and painting looked more perfect than the last. From emperors with the bodies of bodybuilders to women of court that could pass for models, from animals in contortions to stylized interpretations almost impossible to comprehend, the artists attempted to reach beyond space and time with canvas and marble.


Disjointed musings, maybe not…

So many experiences that bring meaning to our lives: people miraculously cured, testimonies of generosity and charity, the wonders of new life. Yet these seem to pale in comparison or rather find their meaning in another greater story.

For what did the artist strive? What does our motley crowd await? One answer for both, and it is a whom and not a what. An ancient story that is more vital and current than any other. It starts two thousand years ago in Palestine and yet is repeated on altars around the world. Christ is coming!

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