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Watch and Hope this Advent Season

Watch and Hope this Advent Season

Another Advent is upon us. Why does the Church lead us along the same path every year, repeating the same seasons, even the same readings? It is not because of the Church’s lack of creativity or to be overly repetitive. This season serves as a very important and faithful reminder of the coming of Christ and what that means for us today.

The word “advent” comes from the Latin “ad-venire”, meaning to come to, to come towards. This season spotlights the three comings of Christ including, the first at the nativity, 2,000 years ago, the last, sometime in the future, and the ongoing, Christ’s constant coming into our lives through His grace in the sacraments.

We live in the final age of human history, the age which will end in Christ’s second coming and the creation of a new heaven and earth. This will be the full establishment of Christ’s Kingdom. We are already citizens of that Kingdom, because we are members of His Church.

Although the season of Advent reminds us of renewing our Christian citizenship, it gives us a chance to check up on the quality of our citizenship. In these coming weeks of Advent, Christ looks forward to making this happen and to deepen our friendship with him.

Perhaps, one of the best ways we can deepen this friendship is through prayer. Now, we are all busy people. We cannot simply retire from everyday life for these four weeks in order to pray. So, how do we make sure we don’t miss what God wants to show us this Advent?

The preface for Advent, which is the prayer said by the priest shortly after receiving the gifts of bread and wine, gives us the secret. It uses two verbs that can serve as the guiding theme of our Advent, two verbs that describe Advent actions we can perform anywhere and anytime, in the car, while we wash the dishes, or before we go to sleep.

The verbs are “watch” and “hope.” During the preface, it says, “Now we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.”

Watch and hope. These are Christian attitudes that should accompany us in every moment. To watch means to stay awake. To watch means to live pro-actively, not passively, doing everything we do in such a way as to please Christ and benefit our neighbor.

To hope means to always keep the future in mind, to remember that the pleasures and pains of this life are passing, to look forward to heaven with just as much eagerness as we look forward to a Christmas vacation or to the presents that we might receive on Christmas Day.

Jesus comes to us at every Mass. When we pray the Mass this Advent season, let’s thank Him for another Advent, and let’s ask Him to teach us to live it well, watching and hoping, so that we will discover everything He wants to show us in a renewed Christian citizenship.

In Christ,

Fr. Scott Emerson
Parochial Administrator

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