FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C (THE YEAR OF LUKE): DECEMBER 2, 2012.
Soul Food for Hungry Adults:
‘MARANATHA! COME, LORD JESUS!,
The Budget is coming and the days are cold, – but the lights are being lit up,
there’s a growing excitement in the air. The shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice, is nineteen days away, and then….
And then, the days will be longer,- a tiny bit at first – ‘the length of a cock’s step on a midden heap’,- ‘ar nós coiscéim choilligh ar charn aoiligh’, as we say it in Irish. But then, even four days later, we know – as civilisations in the Northern Hemisphere have known for millennia- that the Light is increasing. ‘Festivals of Light’ were celebrated from Scandinavia to Rome, long before Christ, to celebrate the Turn of the Year and the Lengthening of the Days. Christians took the ancient and popular feast and ‘baptised’ it as the Feast of the Birth of the Christ, the Light of the World.
And so, we begin, this weekend, the new year of the Church, the First Sunday of
Advent. We prepare to welcome, not just the infant king in the manger, but the adult Saviour, Jesus the Christ, into our hearts and homes and society, once more.
The words we associate with Advent (which means ‘the Coming’), are: hope, longing, preparing a welcome, cleaning the heart, and having the light in the window to welcome the Holy Family into our home. The Lord is coming! But have we the space or the vessel prepared to receive him?
In a time when we face a very harsh Budget, when we live with emigration of our young, with unemployment, with hardship, with discouragement and fear, we need also to find reasons for hope, for solidarity, for compassion and community, for togetherness in family and society. The lighted candle has more right to exist than all the darkness. We need light. We need to be reminded, yet again, of our human dignity, touched by the divine. The Christ child came into a world of wars, of violence, of degradation of peoples, of great poverty and hardships by whole peoples. We need again the message of the Prince of Peace in our pained world.
generation in its turn is invited to make the journey, as if for the first time, to the manger of Bethlehem, later to the Upper Room, then to Calvary’s hill, then to the Empty Tomb, and then often, to the Breaking of the Bread. We, in our generation, journey this road together in 2012 and 2013. We are the people who are now invited to prepare a way for the Lord to come among us and to us again in our generation. We are the people who begin, this First Sunday of Advent, to hunger again, to long again, to prepare again for the birth of OUR Saviour to us in this moment of history.
Our Sunday Gospel this weekend (Luke 21:25-28, and 34-36) is full of foreboding and of fear of wars and disasters. We have our own forebodings and fears and realities of wars: but we are encouraged to hold our heads high, to stand erect, to stand with confidence before Jesus.
Our prayer, through this time of preparation for his Coming, is:
‘MARANATHA! COME, LORD JESUS!,- the very last words of the Bible.
Enjoy the gift of your Advent Season!
Seamus Devitt C.Ss.R.