Friday, November 29, 2013

ADVENT - new beginnings

     As we stand at the threshold of a new beginning, a renewed commitment to the journey to holiness, at the beginning of the great season of Advent, we are reminded by Pope Francis in "The Joy of the Gospel" that this is what the new evangelization is all about.  He invites all Christians at this moment in history to a daily "renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ" or, as he says, "at least an openness to him encountering them."   He asks this of us for we must remember that no one is excluded from the Lord's joy.

     He reminds us that the Lord does not disappoint us if we take the risk of coming back to him, for when that happens, "we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms."  It is the deception that others have to offer that this is not possible, that God's love has limits, that we are unworthy, that this kind of a thing cannot happen.  We need to say clearly and with open heart "I need you.  Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace."

     Then Pope Francis says something truly necessary for all of us to hear as we begin to prepare for Christmas and for the renewed presence of Christ in our lives.  Hopefully we will approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with this in mind: " God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.  Christ, who told us to forgive one another 'seventy times seven' (Mt 18:22) has given us his example: he has forgiven us seventy times seven.  Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love.  With a tenderness which never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift our heads and start anew."

     There was a movie a few years back called "Galaxy Quest", a comedic take off on the "Star Trek" phenomenon that had a line that the captain always said - "Never give up ... never surrender".  The Holy Father also tells us to "never give up."  "May nothing inspire more than his [Christ's] life, which impels us onwards!"

     Good words to approach the new evangelization and the Advent season with.

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