By Anni Harry
Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. ~Luke 21:36
Today, we enter into a profoundly contemplative period in the liturgical calendar – the kickoff of Advent. This marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, and today’s readings truly reflect the hope of the season of Advent. It begins the preparation for the birth of the Savior. We hear of the promise that both Anna and Simeon maintained when they heard the words of Jeremiah, “The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise…”
We sing the prayers of the Responsorial Psalm, “To You, O Lord, I lift my soul.” We listen to the hope that Paul shares at the “coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones.”
We are warned to maintain our hope, forgoing the temptation to become “drowsy,” or allowing “the anxieties of life,” to keep us swept up in matters that distract us from the season. Hope is powerful. It will enable us to maintain a positive outlook, knowing our Lord will come again!
Each new year, whether it’s the liturgical new year or the secular new year, many people set goals. We start the year strong, hoping that we will meet the goals and objectives we put down on paper. Too often, however, we forget that our goals should include spiritual life and deepening our relationship with Christ.
Today, we are cautioned to “remain vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” This verse should not make us quiver in fear or worry. Instead, it should spur us onward toward a mission of love.
The mission to spread God’s love to the world doesn’t end with the Scriptures. Instead, the mission is only beginning when we listen to God’s words of love in the readings. Every single one of us, baptized and given the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, are sent on a mission to proclaim God’s love for the world – love for everyone we encounter.
God loves each of us.
God then asks us to share His love to all.
God’s love is so great; He has sent us a Savior. First, in the form of a humble, human (but also fully divine) babe. Then, He will again send us the Savior in all His Glory at the end of times.
Advent is a period of waiting but is not a time to wait in complacency. Instead, Advent is a time of action. Advent is a time not just to set those spiritual goals but also to dig deep and work on those goals.
We do this by paying special attention to the Works of Mercy, jumping intensely into the sacraments, and loving those we encounter in an intentional way.
We live Advent with the hope of Christ in our hearts, which leads to the mission of love.
Show us, Lord, your love; and grant us your salvation. (Psalm 85:8) And help us prepare well for Advent and your coming, O Lord.
Call to Action
Spend some time considering what goals will go on your Liturgical New Year List this year?
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