Gospel Reflection for Sunday the 28th of November 2021
First Sunday of Advent
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I greet you at this time, as we enter our new liturgical year, a year that begins with the season of Advent. Oh, how important this season is for us, in order to prepare ourselves for Christmas. How essential this time is. The reality is, ‘If this preparation work is not done, we might end up missing the experience; which is the peace and joy of the Lord’s coming’. How sad that would be; to miss the experience, to miss the joy.
Christmas is not simply a moment in time that comes and goes. It is rather something outside of space and time. It is more of a spiritual experience, or better, an encounter with the living God. But for it to be that true encounter with God, our hearts have to be ready for it, so as to welcome Jesus. Therefore, there has to be a preparation.
And how do we do this? We do it by ‘learning to wait’. Dear brothers and sisters, Advent is this school of learning to wait; to wait upon the Lord. We all know how busy we get leading up to Christmas. I’ve just returned from ‘Black Friday’ shopping’ in Tesco’s. Absolute mayhem: the traffic, the cues, so many people busy buying what they need; everyone looking for that bargain, including myself. But even outside of this day, we are, for the most part, a ‘go go’ culture. We always running and running, trying to get one thing done so as to move to the next. So, we have to learn to wait, and Advent is a time to do it.
It’s really learning to discover God’s time, God’s pace. Very much in the spiritual life, we’re not ready for what God desires for us because our hearts are not prepared and thus not capable of receiving all of what he desires to give and accomplish in us. So, we have to go through this period of training in the Divine school. For me, advent becomes a school of intense prayer, because in prayer my heart expands; expands and opens, so as to receive what God wants to give. As I wait upon the Lord, my heart gradually becomes more receptive to His love, to his movement and action in my life.
Dear friends for these next few weeks between now and Christmas, let us make a concrete decision to give that sacred time, to be with the Lord. For me a great tool is the prayer of the rosary. The rosary slows me down; pushes me into that quietness and meditative state where the Lord is waiting to meet me. Another wonderful devotion is the stations of the cross. Why not decide for example, to pray the rosary every day throughout this advent season, or maybe every Friday between now and Christmas to enter a Church and meditate on the stations of the cross.
Dear young friends, let us unite in prayer, especially in this time of preparation, so that we both may experience the joy of meeting the new born Jesus. And may God bless you.
– Fr John Egan S.C.A.