Sunday, November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent--Happy New Year

Waiting, as we know, is very much a part of life. Even our liturgical calendar reminds us each year that we must wait for the big feasts of Easter and Christmas: ample time for preparation and for hope. But how much of our waiting time is done with little hope and, sadly, with much impatience and even frustration?
Modern society sees little good in the value of waiting. It is something we have to put up with. For a Christian, waiting has a value in itself. Even our Lord waited 30 years before beginning his public life. The desk columnist of the Catholic Times tells us about some of the benefits of waiting.

Today is Advent, the first Sunday of the New Year and a preparation for the many comings of Jesus in our lives, past, present and future comings: miracle of miracles, a great blessing and a grace-- the reason for our joy. With longing we wait, but God is also waiting for us; this is the spirituality of waiting.

By repentance and reform, we evangelize ourselves, changing direction to meet the Lord. To help us make the change, the columnist discusses the three virtues of the faith life. First, humility in our faith life, stressing the importance of avoiding its specious forms, such as proclaiming, "I'm certainly not proud." Pride is raising our status in the presence of God, living a life focused on ourselves.
Second, a positive faith life. When our hearts are not at peace, we see all that is around us with negativity and criticism. If this doesn't change we live in pain and often hurt others. Advent is a time to forget ourselves and go out to others who are hurting. 

Third, a pure faith life, living with gentleness. When the heart becomes calloused, at the least provocation we lash out. We have to change this hardness to a gentleness, with the love of Christ. Walking an uneven path we need the love of Jesus to change our ways and to trust in his grace.

The columnist wishes all of us a joyful and hope-filled Advent, as we remember the birth of Jesus, his daily comings into our lives and  await his second coming.

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