Friday, November 30, 2007

Advent Reflection

Hi everyone! I am posting this Advent Reflection that was published in the Parish newsletter in case you missed it.

by: Tom Lang

I can hear you now, “Tom has really gone and lost his mind now!” “We haven’t even hit Thanksgiving and Christmas yet, and he’s going around wishing us a “Happy New Year.” He must have a defective calendar in his house!

Although we won’t be popping champagne and blowing noise makers, the Church will be ringing in the start of a new liturgical year which begins with Evening Prayer of the First Sunday of Advent (Saturday, December 1, 2007). It is fitting however that we first reflect briefly upon the year that will be passing. In the Ordo, which is the guide for the Order of Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours and the Celebration of the Eucharist, it most properly ends the prior liturgical year with the simple, beautiful, and yet theologically-rich statement, “THE END OF THE YEAR OF GRACE, 2007.” It reminds us of the overall purpose of the liturgical year of the Church, that is, that we are called to participate fully so as to grow in the total gift of grace from God.

The wisdom of the Church is also evident in the fact that the final major celebration of the liturgical year is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King, which this year is on Sunday, November 25, 2007. We are reminded that even prior to His birth Jesus was regarded as a king, and of how Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem hailed by all as a “king.” Our Lord and Savior was anointed king on the wood of His cross, which of itself is a great paradoxical sign of defeat and yet final victory. His cross is the means by which we as His people may pass from darkness into His light.

As we begin Advent, let us recall that we are a people of hope by nature. But let us always hope for what is good and true. Yes, we have our God-given free will to hope for fame, fortune, success, material goods, and many other sources of temporary happiness. But we soon find that the satisfaction is fleeting, so we continue to search for something else to make us happy. Our thirst remains unquenched until we recognize that our true end and the object of our longing is and has always been our Creator!

The very word “Advent” signifies a “coming.” The violet or purple sacred vestments worn during Advent help to remind us that during this time of expectation while we await His coming, we have an opportunity to make ourselves presentable to Him by repenting of our sins. We empty ourselves of “us” so that He can dwell within us. It is therefore fitting that the Gospels for the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of Advent always focus upon the preparation by John the Baptist. Perhaps his best example to us was in his words, “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) We must constantly strive to humble ourselves before the Lord, and Advent is the best reminder of this.

I would however make one recommendation for the start of this New Year. On the eve of Advent, don’t linger in Times Square with a bottle of champagne, confetti in your hand, and a noise maker at the ready. Oh yeah, and don’t keep asking everyone you meet, “how much longer ‘till the ball drops?” My guess is that the nice men in the white coats would be called to your aid in no time!

No comments: