Originally Published in The Messenger, for Spanish-speaking people in the Diocese of Belleville Click here to read the article en Español
Next November 20th, we’re going to begin a new liturgical year. As we enter the season of Advent, let us remember with joy and certainty that we are God’s beloved children. The word Advent means “presence” or “arrival”. It refers to the presence begun by God himself among us.
This tells us that God, even if often hidden, is in our midst. His presence is still not complete, but is in the constant process of being revealed to us. It is through us, through our faith and our love, that he wants to make His light shine.
The invitation is then to be alert, to awaken from sleep, as the night goes by and the day is near; salvation is now nearer to us (cf Rm 13:11). This is a time of reflection and hope; a time to prepare our hearts for Christ to be born into them. We will be guided by the Word of God that cries with the voice of Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord” (Is 40.3); and to his word we respond with the earnest supplication of the Spirit who prays in us: “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). It is a time of great hope and anticipation
We rejoice as the time comes and we receive our Savior through the person of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “the daughter of Zion and joy of Israel.”
It is she who teaches us to achieve our encounter with the Lord, to be available for the work of God and walk with hope toward the new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). This should have concrete implications in our service to the church, in the generous assistance to the poor, the passion to bring to all the joy of the gospel. In other words, to be missionaries of Advent!
The road to Christmas that the Church proposes to us in this time of Advent contains an extraordinary wealth of light, energy and spiritual renewal. We are called to not remain in darkness but to take advantage of these gifts in our homes, in our small communities and in our parishes. We are called to go beyond the secular, consumer-oriented society and superficial empty diversions.
The encounter with Christ is the only thing which can renew the world and heal all our imbalances.
Let us accept the grace of Advent. This is the time to discover the meaning of our human and Christian dignity, to examine our lives and to embrace a life consistent with the wonderful creation we are and with the important mission that has been entrusted to us.