EdadventThe season of Advent begins on Sunday November 29th and lasts for the four week leading up to Christmas. Advent is traditionally a time of waiting and of preparation when the readings of the Sunday Masses introduce us to the themes of making straight the path of 'he who comes' by personal prayer and a spirit or repentance. John the Baptism is a key figure in the season, the 'wild man of the desert' calling all who will listen, to wake up and get ready for the main event which is soon to happen. John presents preparation for Christ as a time for cleansing, cleansing from injustice, dishonesty and wrongdoing of every kind. It's all a time and an opportunity for putting right the wrongs of our past and putting mercy and justice in the driving seat of our lives. He urges us to use our positions in life as a means for furthering the welfare of others and ensuring that those on the margins are not frozen out.

John holds a strange fascination not just for the people of his own day but for all who hear of his 'alternative' lifestyle, his unfashionable wardrobe and strange diet, which has echoes of the hippies of the 60's although with a much more noble end in mind. His life and preaching were highly effective and the crowds flocked to him in the wilderness entranced by his call to renewal and a fresh start. All kinds of ordinary folk were drawn to him, people who perhaps were coming to the realisation that there is more to life than meets the eye, much more than material things can ever satisfy.

Advent 2020 finds us in the middle of a global pandemic, at an unprecedented point in time when many things that we did on 'auto-pilot' have simply become impossible. Much of the activity that occupies so much of our time has ground to a halt. We certainly have more time on our hands than we ever imagined and the luxury of time to reflect on what is of true importance and what is a mere distraction.

The next few weeks offer a spiritual opportunity to prepare in a meaningful sense for the celebration of Christ's birth. We would do well to focus on John the Baptist during these weeks and to heed and answer his call to wake up and get ready. John symbolised that new beginning by a washing in the waters of the Jordan. Washing both cleanses and refreshes, it renews and reinvigorates. John's baptism was but a pale reflection of what was to come in the baptism offered by Jesus, in his Baptism all sin would be wiped away and the newly baptised welcomed into the very life of God himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May the coming season of Advent wake us up to the reality of who we truly are.
May it challenge and inspire us to as St. Paul puts it 'live lives worthy of your (our) calling.' Ephesians 4:1

Philip Curran
St. Mary's Lucan

November 20, 2020 - 10:08pm

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