It was still the first few days of a new school year and I was still in the process to getting fully adjusted to the new schedule. I was a faculty member of a high school and often my day began with the celebration of morning Mass for the Sisters in one of the convents serving the school. Well on this particular day, it did not quite happen. When I awoke I looked at the clock and it read 6:11 AM. As I lived 6 miles away from school, I pretty much immediately realized that I would not make it to the convent in time for Mass. Now, mind you, this is the only time this has ever happened in 24 1/2 years of priesthood, so don’t get any ideas that I have a history of this kind of thing, but that day, happen it did. The next item on my agenda was to call the convent to let the Sisters know that I would not be there. Oh, how I dreaded having to make that call, but at least there was no time to fret over it so in no time at all I was on the phone with the Mother Superior. I was super apologetic and embarrassed, and she was very compassionate and understanding-at first. However, something told me that she would have her moment, and she did. She thanked me for calling, she said that she understood, that the Sisters would understand, and that a number of them could rework their schedules to attend the 7:20 AM Mass in the school chapel which I was already scheduled to celebrate and yes, she made sure that I would be there for that one. I thought I was off the phone but then she said this: “Father, just remember one thing: If you want to make your dreams come true the first step you have to take is to wake up.” And, of course, my response was. “Thank you, Sister.” And it never happened again. She did indeed have her moment. I since have come to call that her “Baruch moment.” In the first reading today the prophet Baruch cries out, “Up, Jerusalem!” so that they might experience the wonders that the Lord had in store for them. The monotony, anxiety, pettiness, hardships and sheer exhaustion of their daily lives had gotten the best of them to the point where they had lost sight of the Lord. Doesn’t that sound like us-at least a little bit? I always think about Sister’s “Baruch moment” at the beginning of every school year, and during this season of Advent when Baruch issues his much needed wake-up call and when John the Baptist enters the scene. I always, remember Sister’s moment very well; actually by now it has become my moment-my guess is that she doesn’t remember it all that well. But what if we finally heard our wake up call, what if we finally realized that the only way to make our eternal dreams come true is to wake to the mystery that is all around us-the mystery that is so much more real than our daily anxieties; the mystery that gives meaning to our day?
What if many years from now we could look back at the present time and, not unlike St. Luke, say “In the 2015th, year of our Lord, when Frances was Pope and came to our city, when Barack Obama was president, when Thomas Wolfe was governor, and when Charles was Archbishop, the Word of God came to me in Pottstown?” The truth is that there is no reason why it cannot be so. The first step to make it a reality, like Sister, and Baruch say is to “Wake up!”