From pastor’s desk on 1st Sunday of Advent, year B
For the last two or three decades, the Church calls for new evangelization. This is due to the fact that although many Catholic Christians have received the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation, they have no understanding of the basic truths of our faith. In consequence, most Catholics drop out of the Church and follow the trends of the world. Moreover, they do not consider Catholic religious practices important at all. Religion comes down to only warm fuzzy feelings related to Christmas decorations, songs, and presents. Sadly, God and religion are often on the bottom of the list, behind other activities like sports, education, business, or even entertainment.
How to remedy the lukewarmness among the Catholic Christians? – Each one of us must begin with the renewal of spirit. We must begin spiritual reawakening in our families and our parishes. However, in order to do that we need spiritual means. The Church provides those in a special way during certain liturgical seasons like Advent. Thus, each year the season of Advent calls us to stay “awake and alert.” During Advent the readings frequently call us to be alert and to long more for the coming of Christ. These are the two basic themes of Advent: longing for Christ (the Messiah) and waiting for His coming.
First, it is the longing for Jesus. If we do not long for Him, we cannot appreciate His coming. Through prayer, Scripture reading, examination of conscience, and attending Holy Mass, we must grow in our desire to be with Jesus and to be delivered from all evils. The season Advent should help us to realize how much we need Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.
Secondly, Advent helps us to realize that as long as we live here on earth, we are only in the waiting room. This life is only a shadow of the true life with God. Thus, we need to be patient, while waiting for Him who “is coming” to renew all things in Himself: “Behold I make all things new” (Rev 2:15). During Advent we sing with the Church Maranatha, which in Aramaic means, “Come, O Lord!” May this phrase be our daily prayer so that with each day we may grow in our faith in Jesus Christ.
As we begin the journey of Advent and preparation for Christmas, let us remember that all of us are called to renew our faith in Jesus Christ, without any exception. Each and every one of us must become zealous and authentic disciples of Jesus Christ or we will be good for nothing. It is a mission for all believers as it is stated in the Encyclical Letter Christifideles Laici (no. 14):
Through their participation in the prophetic mission of Christ, "who proclaimed the kingdom of his Father by the testimony of his life and by the power of his world,” the lay faithful are given the ability and responsibility to accept the gospel in faith and to proclaim it in word and deed, without hesitating to courageously identify and denounce evil. (…) They are also called to allow the newness and the power of the gospel to shine out everyday in their family and social life, as well as to express patiently and courageously in the contradictions of the present age their hope of future glory even "through the framework of their secular life.”
While praying for the end of the pandemic, we should also pray for the change of hearts so that all peoples may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
And although the Messiah Jesus has already come, He still wants to come to our lives and be welcomed to our hearts and homes. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come! And renew our world!
Have a blessed and fruitful season of Advent!
Fr. Janusz Mocarski, pastor