From Our Associate Pastor
Have we ever wondered what Advent means? Year after year we end a liturgical year with the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, and we begin a new liturgical year, with Advent. The Advent season is divided into four Sundays to arrive to December 25, when we will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This Sunday, December 3, we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent. Advent means, “the coming of the Redeemer.” It is of utmost importance that we keep in our minds and hearts what we are preparing for, and how we will prepare for that significant moment.
Unfortunately, many of us are so worried and stressed about the gift we are going to give or receive for Christmas, that we overlook what we are celebrating; the coming of our Redeemer into our hearts and our lives.
Year after year, many Catholic Christians celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm, love, and passion, but they don’t understand that it is not just about them. Advent is the appropriate time to wait with great love for our Redeemer of the world.
Let us pay close attention to how St. Mark begins this First Sunday of Advent: Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. And what is that time that St. Mark speaks of? It is precisely the moment when our Redeemer will arrive in our lives and hearts. But how is our Redeemer going to reach our minds and hearts if they are focused on gifts, trips, meals, and entertainment?
It would be highly advisable to think and meditate on these urgent words of St. Mark. How beautiful would it be for each of us to think and meditate, and to ask ourselves a key question: how is it possible that God, being so powerful, great, omnipotent, creator of everything visible and invisible, is incarnated in a woman to share in everything with us, except sin?
Surely many of us never ask ourselves that question because perhaps we assume that God will automatically save us and take us to heaven when we die. Will we be ready, waiting, and longing for that moment when we will meet our Creator face to face? I hope so, otherwise, it would be a distressing and depressing time. May we take this time of Advent to meditate and reflect, day by day, on the incarnation and redemption of our Savior.
Our father, St. Francis of Assisi, was filled with joy as he contemplated and meditated on this great mystery of our Creator. I imagine that our Father, Saint Francis, while contemplating and meditating on this great mystery of the incarnation and redemption of our God, asked himself, how is it possible that God loves me so much when I am so sinful, miserable, weak, and lacking? This is the unconditional love of our God. He loves us so much that year after year He gives us this season of Advent to remind our Mother Catholic Church of the deep and unconditional love that He has for all of His creation.
I invite you my dear brothers and sisters in Christ to dedicate some time to God in this season to reflect on this great and infinite mystery of God. Let’s stop worrying and stressing about a materialistic Christmas that does not, and will not, lead us anywhere.
Together with our families and friends that surround us, let us be flooded by God’s unconditional love for each of us. Let us take advantage of this time of Advent to prepare ourselves to receive our Redeemer and Savior in our hearts, and the hearts of our families.
Let us ask for the intercession of our Father, St. Francis of Assisi, to fall in love in a very special way with the birth of our Savior and Redeemer into our lives. Let us seek moments of solitude and silence to experience what our Father St. Francis experienced in his moments alone with our God. Let us taste and see how good, merciful, and generous our God is. Amen.
With love and respect, Friar Alberto Villafan, OFM.
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