Welcome to the Season of Advent

11-27-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Welcome to the Season of Advent, the Season that begins the Liturgical Year of the Church and invites us to prepare ourselves for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. During this Season, the Church invites us to prepare for the commemoration of the historical birth of Jesus Christ which is marked with the solemn celebration of Christmas, and for the second coming which will take place at the end of time. This is why the theme of preparation runs through the readings of the First Sunday of Advent.

In the First Reading, the Prophet Isaiah summons a despairing Israel, who had witnessed the destruction of their homeland and the consequent deportation of exiles to Babylon, to hope in God’s promise of restoration. The Word of God shall come forth from Jerusalem and God shall cause to exist an almost incredible period of peace.

Writing to the brethren in Rome, St. Paul exhorts them to wake from sleep because the hour of salvation, the day of the Lord, is near at hand. How were the Romans to stay awake as in the day? Paul offered an instructive suggestion: let us throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light, let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. Simply put, St. Paul urged the Roman Christians to repent of the desires of the flesh and to recommit themselves to verifiable observance of the precepts of Christ. We need no reminder that Paul speaks these same words to us as we prepare for the coming of the Lord.

The Gospel passage opens with the destructive behavior that Paul warned the Christians in Rome about. Jesus compared the attitude of unpreparedness exhibited by His Jewish contemporaries to that of the dissidents at the time of Noah who ignored God’s invitation to repentance and chose to distract themselves with marriages and other materialistic inclinations. They chose this life over life with God and so were caught unaware when the floods of purification came. Like our ancient ancestors, our awareness of, and preparation for, the coming of Jesus has the tendency to be distracted by secular and materialistic living that places our wills and desires above our natural yearning for God. We often spend time and treasure acquiring decorative materials and mundane Christmas accessories without commensurate or even greater attention to spiritual preparation for Christmas. Have we made commitments to attend the weekend Mass in person? Have we considered intensifying prayer and nourishing our prayer lives? Have we reflected on setting free those we have imprisoned in our hearts through unforgiveness? Have we considered humbly approaching those we have off ended or those we are not talking to in order to obtain genuine forgiveness, effect reconciliation, establish communication and strengthen fellowship? Have we committed to regular utilization of the Sacrament of Reconciliation? Have we considered renewed participation in faith sharing and community renewal through enrollment in pious societies like the Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul, the Pro-Life group, etc? Have we committed to increased giving whether to the Church or to Charity?

As we enter with hope and anticipatory joy into the Holy Season of Advent, may our preparation to meet Christ be prompted by the Holy Spirit to be more spiritually nourishing and may it bear the desired fruits at Christmas.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh