May Hope Shine Brightly This Advent
Brothers and Sisters,
May the peace of our Lord be with us always!
The season of Advent is a wonderful time, but it is also a very busy time for us. Our Confreres generously give of themselves, hearing confessions, celebrating liturgies, preparing homilies, decorating churches, correcting exams, and trying to help the faithful prepare for the coming of our Lord. I am sure you, too, and your families are busy with holiday preparations, with preparing gifts and meals for your guests this Christmas season. In between all the decorating and visiting and merry-making, I ask you, my friends to take time to care for yourselves – your own heart, your spiritual life, your relationship with our Lord, your hope which is placed in Christ.
When the poor seek us out, they not only seek help with food and clothing, or forgiveness and healing, they also search for signs of hope; hope which is a promise of a better future; hope that gives them strength to carry their burdens. Vincent instructed us, that when we give bread, we should give it with love. Perhaps this Advent season, we can be men and women of hope, so that when we serve others, we provide not just for their physical needs, but we also offer hope.
The Sundays of Advent lead us on a journey. The Old Testament readings begin by begging the Lord to open the heavens and come down, then they offer us words of God’s comfort and tenderness. The third Sunday touches our Vincentian soul as we are sent to bring glad tidings to the poor, while always trusting in the promise of the Savior given on the last Sunday.
The letters of the New Testament invite us to reflect on God’s promises to us. God assures us of His faithfulness and promises a new heaven and a new earth.
Is our trust so deep and sincere that we can rejoice and glorify God, as the prophets do, for the mysteries God has revealed?
This season’s Gospel readings begin by focusing our gaze on what is truly important, the coming of our Lord. Then, John the Baptist calls us to prepare ourselves, to remember who we are, and who we are not. Finally, we are inspired by the hope-filled response of Mary, who trusted in God’s promise, and we are invited to renew our “Yes” to the Lord.
Advent is a season overflowing with promise and hope. Brothers and Sisters, I invite you to open your hearts to the Scriptures of Advent. Please set aside time for prayer and reflection. Seize the opportunity to go to confession. As we open ourselves to the promise and hope of this season, may we truly be men and women who offer hope to a world which so desperately needs it.
May our Lord bless you this Advent season!
Fr. Stephen Grozio