Today we begin a new liturgical year. Jesus said to us 27 times in the Gospel, “Follow me!” and each liturgical year we do just that, tracing his footsteps along the route of salvation history, trying to become more and more like him whom we’re following. The New Liturgical year also begins with ADVENT, a special time of waiting and hoping, of renewing our trust in God’s merciful love and care, and of reflecting on the several comings (advents), of Christ into our lives. Besides his first coming at his birth, we are asked to reflect on Christ’s coming as the risen Lord at Easter, in the Sacraments (especially the Eucharist), in our everyday lives, at the moment of death, and at the end of human history (the second coming).
As a period of waiting, Advent advices us on how to achieve a fruitful and spiritual moment as we awaits God's promises to be fulfilled. It invites us to think some new thoughts, imagine new projects, and focus our basic options at the start of a Church’s year of worship. We renew our welcome to Jesus as the anchor of our lives, and prepare for his return at the end of time. Indeed it is an open invitation to make a new start in our personal spiritual journey.
We can listen to the tone of urgency in all the readings as being proclaimed. All the readings are centered on the invitation to a spiritual tune-up at the start of our new liturgical year.
St. Paul uses the vivid imagery of throwing off the bed-clothes and getting dressed to start the new day . The day to prepare for is the new day of Christ’s coming in judgment. The real question to be faced is “Can we face Christ?” “Have we really cast off the deeds of darkness/self-interest, in favor of living in the light of the gospel?”
The gospel faces us with this question about how alert we are to our real selves. We are supposed to belong to Christ; have we really lived as if that were true? Part of the struggle of taking on a new day is the struggle to hope that it may be better than the failures of the day before. The process of conversion, turning from the darkness to the light, is only made possible by the gift of the light itself. It is the rising of the sun that calls us to get up. It was the coming of Christ into the world as its light that makes true conversion possible. Therefore, Advent invites us to reflect upon time, the relationship between past, present and future. The saving events of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, have to be made present in life as well as liturgy. It is in the changing circumstances of life that the mystery of salvation will unfold. In this new year we hope to be renewed, both individually and as community; and more fully respond to Christ’s presence among us.
So today, as we begin Advent, we can ask this loving God to renew our desires and attractions for Him. We can ask this God of life to purify all of our love so that divinity radiates through us. We can look at the beauty that is here on earth, all of creation, other people, music, art and everything and give thanks for the gifts that have been given. Most of all, we can thank this God of compassion for sending us Jesus to make divine life possible within us. May we be filled with His divinity and live in such a way that we shall rejoice with Him for ever.
Have a fruitful New Liturgical Year and a refreshing season of Advent!
Fr. JuliusBACK TO LIST