Sunday, November 28, 2021  

1st Sunday of Advent

The Church begins the Advent season with the Gospel reading which presents the second coming of Christ in glory, to give us a vision of our future glory in Heaven and to show us the preparation needed for it.

 

Advent gives us the time to make this preparation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, by renewing our lives through prayer and penance, and by sharing our blessings with others. Advent also provides an opportunity for us to check for what needs to be put right in our lives, to see how we have failed, and to look for ways in which we can do better. The words of the English poet Alexander Pope said it best: “What does it profit me if Jesus is reborn in thousands of cribs all over the world and not reborn in my heart.”

 

Jesus must be reborn in our hearts and lives, during this Advent season and every day of our lives, in our love, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. Then only will we be able to give people the hope of Jesus by caring for those in need, to give them Jesus’ love by encouraging those who are feeling sad or tired, and giving them God’s joy by encouraging and helping those who feel at their limit—showing them that we care and that God cares also.

 

Advent is a call to “look up” to see that Christ is still here. We raise our heads in hope and anticipation, knowing that the Lord is coming again. The Gospel of Luke reminds us to trust in Jesus despite the difficulties which may arise in our lives. We may suffer tragedies, loss, pain and heartache; in such situations, we may feel overwhelmed and feel that our lives have no meaning. In such times Jesus says: “Stand up, raise your heads, because your salvation is near” (Luke 21:28). 

 

If we embrace Advent as a time of hope and the practice of humility, we will receive God’s grace and receive hope, peace, love, and joy in return. Then we will know that when Jesus our King returns in glory, we will be ready to receive him and experience joy eternal. 

 

Br. Benjamin Ripley, ofm