By Mark Azzara
This Sunday marks the start of Advent, the season when we anticipate the coming of Jesus. But what kind of world is waiting for him with baited breath? It is a world in which:
- Our network television offerings include “Celebrity Wife Swap.”
- Women are sexually harassed and groped at a “fun” event, the Comic-Con Convention.
- Female video-game programmers have their careers and even their lives threatened because they dare to protest the blatant sexual violence depicted in many of those games.
- Universities are under federal investigation for ignoring complaints by female students that they were gang-raped at fraternity parties.
- Fans at Chicago Blackhawks’ games hear the tune “The Stripper” played whenever a pretty woman shoots the puck between intermissions.
- Officials in the Canadian province of British Columbia are considering whether to decriminalize polygamy.
- The number of porn sites, according to a news report I remember but cannot cite, is growing by about 2,000 per day.
- Many women are so convinced they are nothing more than sexual objects that they have surrendered their minds, bodies, hearts and souls to anyone who preaches that lie and thus contributed to the abuses cited above
This is the time when we prepare for the arrival of our king, who came to this world as a man and demonstrated, among other things, his complete, total, unabashed respect for women.
Churches that use the lectionary — the compilation of Scripture readings organized into a three-year cycle – have offered readings the past two weeks, both from Matthew 25 (verses 14-30 and 31-46), that talk about what will happen when we meet Jesus face to face. One is of a rich man who entrusts all his possessions to his servants, and who, upon his return, demands to know what his servants have done with those resources. This is followed by Jesus’ eternal judgment on those who did or didn’t feed the hungry, clothe the naked, house the homeless, tend to the sick.
During Advent we say we await the king’s arrival. But given the way men treat women in our society, I must ask my fellow guys: Are you really looking forward to the arrival of the one who will hold us accountable for the kinds of sins listed above, not to mention all the sins that are so common they aren’t even considered news?
This is the time when we prepare for the arrival of our king – not just the recollection of his historic first coming, but also of his second coming at a moment when we least expect it. Sounds to me like a lot of guys have a lot of preparing to do. And so do a lot of women.
Mark Azzara spent 45 years in print journalism, most of them with the Waterbury Republican in Connecticut, where he was a features writer with a special focus on religion at the time of his retirement. He also worked for newspapers in New Haven and Danbury, Conn. At the latter paper, while sports editor, he won a national first-place writing award on college baseball. Azzara also has served as the only admissions recruiter for a small Catholic college in Connecticut and wrote a self-published book on spirituality, “And So Are You.” He is active in his church and facilitates two Christian study groups for men. Azzara grew up in southern California, graduating from Cal State Los Angeles. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut.