We’re at the very beginning of the Advent Season, and so that will reflect something very particular about our Kairos experience. Kairos is about God’s time, God’s timing, and one of the concrete ways God speaks with us is through the seasons of the year and the liturgical seasons. The word Advent (Adventus) literally contains the word for ‘wind’ – ventus – so we could say Advent also has the sense of “blowing towards” “ad – ventus. ” Advent is a change in the direction of the wind, a change of the air – what was once blowing another direction is now blowing towards us. We also know that wind, air, and breath are the same word as Spirit in the ancient languages of the scriptures. Genesis 1:2, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving (or blowing) over the face of the waters.”1 The Spirit of God blows across the face of the waters at the beginning of time. At Advent, that same Spirit begins blowing towards us. Our Kairos is happening now, as the wind changes direction, as the Spirit begins blowing towards us. The same Spirit that transformed the empty and formless darkness into the incredible created world in which we live, now moves our way, now blows towards us. He moves towards us to recreate us – to make us completely new.
There are three comings of Christ – the Catechism teaches us about them, and St. Bernard describes them, saying, “We know that there are three comings of the Lord. The third lies between the other two. It is invisible, while the other two are visible. In the first coming he was seen on earth, dwelling among men; he himself testifies that they saw him and hated him. In the final coming all flesh will see the salvation of our God, and they will look on him whom they pierced. The intermediate coming is a hidden one; in it only the elect see the Lord within their own selves, and they are saved.”2 Kairos is this third coming, the invisible coming, the Advent of the Spirit of Christ coming to us in a powerful and interior way – a very personal encounter.
Today’s readings help us understand that this third coming happens on a mountain. The Kairos retreat is meant to provide you with a kind of mountaintop experience – and if you accept to this climb mountain and dwell here, you will be open to the Spirit. In today’s first reading we hear about what happens on top of this mountain, the veil that separates us from God is torn away: on this Kairos mountain you are given an expansive perspective on your life because you see the lives of your Kairos brothers more clearly and how your own life and challenges are part of something bigger. Your perspective grows because on this mountain you are faced with important truths about faith, about values, about Christ. On this mountain, “The Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces; it will be said: ‘Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the LORD for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!’ For the hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain.”
Climb this mountain brothers, to meet the Lord, to meet each other in truth before God. On this same mountain, Jesus performs healings, as we see him doing in today’s Gospel, “Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.” May the Lord visit us – may He come to us spiritually, like a fresh wind on the mountain of this Kairos, may he heal us in the different ways we want and need to be healed, may He give us new perspective from this vantage point on our lives, may we be consoled by His mercy and forgiveness, may his invisible Advent into our hearts this Kairos help us always remember that we are in the Holy Presence – the Holy Presence of God.
Again Jesus went up on the mountain where he sat down. Not only people who were healthy but also those suffering from various disorders went up on the mountain where Jesus was sitting. Think of this mountain to which Jesus went up and sat as the church. It has been set up through the word of God over the rest of the world, and all sorts of people come to it. To this assembly have come not only the disciples, as if they were leaving behind the multitudes, as they did in the case of the Beatitudes. Rather, there are great crowds here, many of whom are deaf or suffer from many afflictions. Look at the crowds who come to this mountain where the Son of God sits. Some of them have become deaf to the things that have been promised. Others have become blind in soul, not looking toward the true light.2 Others are lame and not able to walk according to reason. Others are maimed and unable to work profitably. Each of these who are suffering in soul from such things go up along with the multitudes into the mountain where Jesus sits.3
- Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain). (1994). The Holy Bible: Revised Standard Version, Catholic edition (Ge 1:2). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA.
- Sermon, St. Bernard – Office of Readings, Wednesday of the First Week of Advent.
- COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 11.18. Simonetti, M. (Ed.). (2002). Matthew 14-28 (p. 33). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Thank you Fr. Francis!