“God will not forget you” : Fr Dan Carroll SDB, Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland
Reflection for First Sunday of Advent
Advent gives us an opportunity to make a new start in our relationship with God and become more aware of His hidden presence in our world. It is a season of hope and expectation.
God’s relationship with humanity is one of gift, mercy, love and forgiveness. God has always communicated his care and love for us through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets before coming to live with us in the person of Jesus Christ.
Our God is always faithful to us and, this is shown in a special way at Christmas, when, he comes among us a baby. This is a mystery. Advent invites us to reflect on this mystery and be ready to receive Jesus at Christmas.
In one of the darkest moments of Israel’s history, when the Babylonian army was about to invade and take the people into exile, the prophet Jeremiah proclaims that God will not forget them. God will not forget the promises he had made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets. As a sign of his fidelity Jerusalem would be called ‘the Lord is our saving future’.
St Paul, in the second reading suggests how people should live as Christians – loving one another and the whole human race as much as possible, while waiting for the second coming of Jesus.
In his Gospel St Luke speaks about the destruction of Jerusalem. He wrote his Gospel for the Gentile Church – people who knew about the death and resurrection of Jesus and were waiting for his second coming.
Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of Christ at Christmas. How we wait is so important but we need to remember that God is the 1st one to start this work within us. That we desire to prepare for Christmas indicates we are listening to the Holy Spirit. God accompanies us and gives us food for the journey in the Eucharist, Scriptures and support in our Faith Community. Our role is to be able to give him the freedom to guide and transform us.
We can prepare to welcome Jesus at Christmas by taking time to slow down, reflect, give time to people and pray. We create a space within ourselves and our homes to let Jesus into our lives. Wherever Jesus was engaging with people he was always fully present to them. Advent invites us to cultivate a way that allows us to be present to Jesus as best we can.
We can give thanks for the many blessings and gifts life has given us – health, meaning in life, hope, joy and faith.
Psalm 24 says ‘The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him; to them he reveals his covenant’. We wait in joy and hope for the second coming of Jesus Christ in the sure knowledge that ‘our liberation is close at hand’.
Fr Dan Carroll SDB, Salesian Community, Limerick, Ireland