First Sunday of Advent
The readings of Advent are filled with hope as we vigilantly await the coming of our Lord. He is and always will be victorious over the forces of evil operating in our world and sometimes in our own selves.
We are called to be hopeful. Hope doesn’t mean we just sit back reservedly and dream of a better world or a different self. Hope is an active force in our lives that calls us to do something to change because we believe that things don’t have to continue the way they are. We can be better people and we can help change our world for the better. Hope is our firm belief that this life that we know is only the beginning of everlasting life and so we are not afraid to give our lives in love as our Lord has done. In other words, our hope comes from the experience of the risen Lord with us as we await his final return.
We are called to be vigilant. Vigilance means to be watchful; to be looking for the signs of our Lord who is calling us each day and not just at the end of time. We keep our eyes open to the presence of the Lord in those who suffer, in those who are alone in life, in those who have no one to defend their human rights, etc. Vigilance means we keep the focus off ourselves and on the needs of others and on the vision of the person we strive to become.
He is victorious over evil. That sometimes doesn’t seem apparent as we watch the daily news or when we see our own sinfulness. The anxieties of life sometimes do trap us. The anger that surges in our hearts must be righteous not destructive. The temptation to allow our anger to become violent instead of constructive is always a challenge but we know that evil will not be overcome by evil. The Lord will break into our history through us not to destroy but to forgive, heal and restore. When we are hopeful and vigilant, he will show us the way and give us the strength to witness to the end times of our salvation.
By Fr. Joseph Jablonski, MSC