Meeting the New Year with Renewal
December 03, 2019
The new liturgical year started on December 1st, the first Sunday of Advent. During the season of Advent, we prepare for the Lord’s coming in Bethlehem. For the four weeks leading up to Christmas, our daily readings from both the Holy Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours will be excerpts and passages from Scripture that highlight Israel’s longing for God’s arrival and foretell the birth of his Son.
However, the first Sunday of Advent’s readings always pertain to the Second Coming of Christ. The purpose is to remind us that our Lord has not come once to never return again. Therefore, when we celebrate with a spirit of anticipation for the Nativity, we should harmonize that anticipation to his coming again at the end of time. Just as the people of Israel longed for God to come and take his place as king over all the nations, so should we long (as the new Israel) for him to return and put an end to evil forever. This also means that Advent, much like Lent, is a season of spiritual renewal.
“Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore, you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at the hour you do not expect.” –Matt 24: 42-44
Our Lord reminds us that we do not know when he is coming back to judge us according to our faithfulness to him. Can we really afford to put off our striving towards holiness any longer? For the Christian man or woman, time is always of the essence. Let us approach the new liturgical year with a renewed sense of dedication to growing closer to God. We would do well to make spiritual resolutions during this timeframe in the same way we make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year.
As Roman Catholics, we have all the graces we need to begin our journey towards God. We have Masses being celebrated daily at parishes all across the city, we have outreach programs and charities that desperately need our help, and parish communities in abundance to pray with and for as we continue to spread the Gospel in our Diocese. We must keep in mind that the Kingdom is in our midst and that we have to make contact with that truth on a daily basis. As St. Josemaria Escriva once said, “Either we learn to find our Lord in ordinary, everyday life, or else we shall never find Him.”