Thursday, 30 November 2017


“He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name 13 who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself. 14 The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth,”

(Prologue to the Gospel of St. John).

These words taken from the Prologue of the Gospel of St. John are all about Jesus, truly the Son of God, truly become man, the Son of Mary and dwelling among us, the human family. These words are about the birth of Jesus in a sheltered place outside Bethlehem. These words are about some rejecting Him and others accepting Him – Shepherds, Magi, people such as you and me.

These words are all about Christmas – either the celebration of this wonderful, sacred birth or, sadly a harsh rejection or total indifference to anything that smacks of religious piety associated with this end of the year Party Time, Exchange of Presents, and Greetings Cards.

And now I quote a learned Scripture scholar, ““If ever we lose the sense of wonder of God becoming man we shall never appreciate the meaning of Christmas.”

Ever since I’ve known myself, and that’s many, many, years, I’ve accepted Jesus and celebrated the birth of the Son of God, the Son of Mary. This faith has reached its climax at Christmas. At my baptism I received from God the power to become a child of God and to live as such. And now as I write ask myself about my sense of wonder about all that is so familiar – a sense of wonder that brings me to my knees in adoration and thanksgiving.

I see the need to refresh my sense of wonder at the Incarnation of the Son of God, my enthusiasm, my excitement. And what is more, I am aware that the Church realizes this need for you, me, all of us. And that is why the Church has given us the season of Advent for a spiritual build-up to the Solemnity of Christmas. The Church has given us a beautiful liturgy and beautiful hymns to help us to be spiritually, emotionally eager to have Jesus continuously coming to us. It is vitally important to us that we consciously want His coming to us personally. Call it a hunger, a thirst to have Jesus in our lives, influencing the shape of our lives.

The word Advent means ‘Come’ as a request, a pleading, as in the hymn, ‘O come, O come, Emmanuel!’ The Advent Liturgy feeds us with the promises God made long ago to His Chosen People that He would send them a Messiah- one anointed with His Spirit, a leader, saviour. We are to make the yearning of God’s People our own

. During Advent it is important that we anticipate as we await the birth. This sense of needing Jesus to come is lost if we start singing carols such as ‘Away in a manger,’ as if the liturgical celebration of the birth had already taken place, the One who was to come had already arrived.

While Jesus, in the womb of Mary, and Joseph were coming towards Bethlehem for the census three Magi were travelling from afar towards the birthplace. Somewhat later shepherds on the hillside were summoned by an angel to make their way towards the newly born babe. For Magi and shepherds, and now for you and me, Advent means making a journey, coming towards a personal encounter with Jesus and on arrival adoring Him.

I now see clearly, means you and I making a journey towards Jesus, an encounter with Him in His infancy, and there adoring Him. It is to be a journey of faith. We have nothing to offer Him but ourselves. All He wants of us that we be acceptable to Him. As far we are concerned it means we would be well advised that we embrace the gift Jesus wants to make to us – His forgiveness of our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It’s never too late to start on our journey towards Jesus. I wish you and yours very special Advent.

Peter Clarke, O.P

No comments:

Post a Comment