Advent: The Season of Hope
When I was a kid, I would always help my mom prepare whenever we expect a visitor to come in our house. I used to assist her on almost all the house chores especially in cooking. But with my innocent mind, I cannot help but to ask my mom this question: “Why are we always exerting a lot of effort to welcome our visitors?” With this, she simply smiled at me and answered: “Son, because all people are special.” Indeed Advent is fast approaching, and as Catholics, we are also expecting not only an important person but more so, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But for starters, I think it is important to refresh our minds and hearts to what Advent actually means as believers of Christ.
Advent comes from the Latin word “Adventus” which means “to arrive”. With this, we, the members of the Church has a solemn mission to prepare the way of the Lord. (Mark 1:3) Pope Benedict XVI in one of his Catechesis, clearly stated that the coming of our Lord is part of “God’s benevolent plan” and more intimately of his Loving plan (Eph 1:5) Because he so Loved world that He gave us his only Son (Jn. 3:16) Through Jesus, as St. Irenaeus of Lyons puts it, all things are restored and therefore his coming is the result of God’s overflowing love for us that despite our sins, he still gave his begotten son to save us and to restore all things in him. In other words, Advent is a time for us to recollect in order for us to be ready for the coming of our Lord Jesus.
Knowing the essence of Advent as the coming of Jesus, We are then challenged to ready ourselves for this act of God’s love. The first challenge for us is to reflect. In this present time, we are so pre-occupied by the world that our souls more than our bodies are yearning for silence and true peace. This season invites us to have a moment of reflection and to thank God for his great gift to us. Human and flawed as we are, God continued to believe in our potential to do what is right and to choose what is good even to the point of sending his only son Jesus for us. These moments of reflections will also lead us to prayer which also brings us in communion with God.
With reflection and prayer, we are then moved and inspired to act for this is our next challenge. We then ask ourselves: “How is our relationship with our family? Our friends? Our officemates? Or even our enemies?” This is the perfect time to intensify our love and forgiveness to one another to be prepared for Jesus. This is because Jesus came to redeem us from our sins and it is more fitting that we should also “forgive those who trespassed against us”. (Mt. 6:12) It may be hard at first, but come to think of it, our Lord became man to show us that like him, we can also forgive. This season also urges us to give and to share whatever we have to those who are in need. We do not have to look outside, we can always start with our family. Lastly, it is our hope that through our actions, we can inspire others to do what we are aspiring to do and as St. Francis of Assisi once said: “In evangelizing, use words if necessary.”