December 23rd, 2012
Preparing to worship
This last Sunday of Advent, falling so close to Christmas, is our final preparation for the great feast. The waiting is almost over and we are ready to welcome God’s greatest gift with praise, thanksgiving and worship. The letter to the Hebrews speaks of the eagerness of the incarnate Word of the Father to come among us: Here I am! I am coming…”, and the Gospel tells us of the response of the unborn son of Elizabeth who leapt with joy at the nearness of Christ. May His readiness to come to us be met by our readiness to recognise Him, welcoming Him into our open hearts, into our daily lives, that we may be slowly transformed by His presence.
December 15th, 2012
PREPARING TO WELCOME
The readings of today’s Mass will create in us, as in the people who came to John the Baptist, a feeling of expectancy. “…someone is coming”, “…the Lord is very near”, “…the Lord your God is in your midst”. But there is immediate preparation to be made. When a special guest is expected the house has to be cleaned and made ready. Each of the various groups who questioned John the Baptist, “What must we do?” was given a specific answer. We each have our own preparation to make. Let us ask the question: “What must I do?”
December 9th, 2012
Today’s gospel introduces John the Baptist and identifies him as the one who “cries in the wilderness; Prepare a way for the Lord”, and who preaches repentance as the preparation that is needed. Our hearts need to be purified so that our God may come to us. Yet in the first reading, from the prophet Baruch, it is God who is preparing a way, flattening mountains and filling in valleys so that we may go to Him, walking safely on level ground. This is the constant teaching of St John of the Cross, that if we are seeking God, we can be sure that God is seeking us still more.
December 1st, 2012
Advent is a time of waiting, but waiting does not mean sitting back until something happens. Jesus in the Gospel uses stirring words: “stand erect…watch yourselves…stay awake”! We are to be alert and vigilant in our waiting, because at any moment he can come to us in the events of life, in the person of our neighbour, or in the silence of our hearts. “The days are coming”, says Jeremiah in the first reading, but we know that we already live in those days that he foretold and the promise of God has been fulfilled. It is for us to be eager and watchful so that we do not miss any of the ways in which he comes to us.