The Advent Season

The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new Church year. This year the Sunday readings are Year C of the three-year cycle with the Gospel taken from Luke and the weekdays in Year 2.

(from The Liturgical Calendar) “Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight. It is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope.

Waiting: memory of the first humble coming of the Lord in our mortal flesh and waiting: in supplication for his final, glorious coming as Lord of History and Universal Judge. Conversion: to which the liturgy at this time often refers quoting the prophets, especially John the Baptist. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Joyful hope that the salvation already accomplished by Christ and the reality of grace in the world will mature and reach their fullness, thereby granting us what is promised by faith and ‘we shall become like him for we shall see him as he really is’.

This year, leading towards Advent, there were a number of things looked at and still have to be looked at that require some waiting, conversion and a hope — there was a two week series of talks, discussions and toing and froing in Scotland regarding Climate Change. A lot of good ideas and a lot of very hard facts were presented there. We wait to see what happens on the global level, and hope that there will continue to be an increase in willingness by those who wield power to make the necessary decisions. As individuals we must all do our bit as well and through a hopeful approach encourage others. Another thing was the special Trocaire Appeal for East Africa called by the bishops to help over 30 million women, men and children there who cannot deal with so many aspects of the life thrown at the them, including extremely violent war and Covid-19: a humanitarian crisis on a grand scale that misses the headlines. The special collection was held and the latest figure we have for what was donated through the parish is 8880 euro. Thirdly, we are at a point here in Ireland where numbers contracting covid seem to be swinging anywhere between 3600 and 5900 daily cases with the figure on Thursday November 25th, 4764 and the number in ICUs around the country is 126. This is a situation that all any of us can do is make sure we follow all the guidelines — sanitizing, wearing masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated as we watch out for our own health and the health of work colleagues, fellow churchgoers, neighbours, friends and family at risk.

If things continue the way they are going or as some of the scientists think, even get worse, then we don’t know what might happen to those figures within the season of Advent. My hope is that people will act responsibly, I am waiting to see the numbers of vaccinations to rise and I hope those who are not vaccinated will convert.