This Sunday we enter into the season of hope and expectation, a time to renew ourselves spiritually. It is that time of year again, Advent. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI,
“It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus open doors of hope.”
The readings of this Sunday remind us to live the life God wants of us and to follow the instructions given to us by Jesus, as directed by St Paul in his First Letter to the Thessalonians (3:12-4:2). In the Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36, we are given a warning to watch ourselves so that our hearts may not become harsh, and to persevere in prayer so that we can stand in confidence before the Son of Man.
The images described at the beginning of the Gospel reading are certainly impressions that we can identify with, as on our screens and in the newspapers, our eyes have seen and our ears have heard the suffering of all of life during the recent past. If we allow our hearts to harden and ignore Jesus’s teaching we will forget the good that God offers and become disconnected, and so deprive ourselves of positive human qualities. At a recent retreat it was pointed out to me that the opening of that door of hope is on the inside of us.
It is within us to open out to God’s call for us, to permit God to dwell within us so that we may gain the confidence to live in God’s hope, a hope that we can live for and with others.
May we avail of this time to reflect on the daily presence of God in our lives as we prepare ourselves spiritually for the coming celebration of the birth of Christ so that we may witness to God’s care for all life.
Sr Edel Murphy OP