Dear friends, Advent is a time for reflecting on basic realities, such as the existence of God and his divine goodness that created all things. The scriptures recall the many different encounters people have with God or Christ and the immediate reaction is one of unworthiness, of one’s sinfulness in the presence of this Reality of Eternal Love.

The human reaction of knowing one’s sinfulness in the presence of God is quickly followed by God’s instruction to not be afraid and His invitation to draw near to this font of life and love.

As we begin a new liturgical year this Advent, we are invited once again to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the Lord’s coming into the world as the incarnation of God’s love. This preparation is practical in so far as it calls for a worthy preparation to receive the same Lord and Redeemer who comes to us in the sacraments, especially Holy Communion. Such daily reflection and renewal in the life we have in Christ keeps us vigilant in our longing and readiness for when he comes as judge  at the time of our death and the end of the world.

The Prophet Isaiah recalls the many ways the people of Israel forgot or ignored, even “spurned” the Holy One of Israel as he calls to mind the many transgressions of the people in the sight of God. Our own reflection during Advent must not pass over our shortcomings in God’s estimation and judgement.

Isaiah then goes on to tell the people what is pleasing in the sight of God:

Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow.

Come now, let us set things right, says the Lord:

Though your sins be like scarlet, they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.

(Isaiah 1: 16-18)

This Advent as we draw near to Christ, we take hope in God’s never-ending love and the renewing grace of redemption that is ours in Christ. While we take stock of the sinful patterns of our own life, we do so with confidence in God’s mercy, and the promise of conversion to a fruitful and meaningful life, no longer centered on self, but in Christ.

The season of Advent reminds us that Christ is our heavenly King who comes with power and might to save us and all peoples. May Christ touch your life in a profoundly personal way this Advent. He draws near – always with an invitation to life and love. Let us draw near to Christ as we seek the grace of his Light to banish all darkness.

Reflect on the Lord in prayer, and let his merciful love renew your faith in him as Lord of all.