We begin a new Liturgical Year, and with it, a new Advent: a time of grace and hope, a time to be vigilant, to discover the presence of God and his salvific force.
For believers, Advent has always been and is now, as well, a precious gift to prepare for the celebration of Christmas. Since ancient times, the Church has felt the need to direct its gaze towards the glorious Lord, God’s presence in the world and also the One who will one day come to meet us at the end of time.
Come, Lord Jesus! It is the cry par excellence of the Church in Advent. But in reality, it is the cry of humanity and of each person, from the queue of unemployment or the queue of hunger in search of the necessary food, and from the bed of the sick …
The Gospel of this first Sunday of Advent invites us to be vigilant, in expectation of the final coming of Christ: “watch, for you will not know when the owner of the house will come (Mk 13,35,37). It is time to be attentive to so many injustices and inequalities; attentive to those who suffer the most from the consequences of the pandemic; attentive to so many unemployed people without financial resources to support their families, attentive to what the Spirit is telling us in the signs of the times, attentive to discover the face of Christ in those who need it …
I believe that Advent can only be celebrated from a deep solidarity with the greatest desires of humanity, from the concrete hopes of the people, those near and far, hopes of flesh and blood, with names and surnames. This humanity is what God wants and what we must prepare for. A possible prayer for this time may be to ask ourselves what the people are waiting for, what are their real hopes, so we are able to put them before the Lord and say “Come, Lord Jesus! on this specific reality, on this specific person.
Pope Francis in his encyclical “Fratelli Tutti” invites us to build a new, more fraternal humanity, in which everyone has the roof and bread needed to live, in which there is no discrimination on the grounds of race, social condition, poverty. We are all sons and daughters of God, He loves us and wants for each one a present and a future full of life. Let us take care of the earth that gives us food and take care of each other, especially those most in need.
Sisters, let us walk this Advent journey, hand in hand with Mary our Mother, may she teach us to believe, hope and love all humanity.
I wish you all a happy and holy Advent.
A fraternal hug and my prayer,
Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.