Happy New Year to you all, as we begin the Catholic Church’s liturgical year today with the First Sunday of Advent. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word “ad-venire", which means “to come to". Advent is a season of preparation for the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity, with the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas. It is also a time when by remembrance, our hearts and minds are directed to Christ’s second coming at the end of time. The four weeks of the Advent season, represent the four thousand years the people of the Old Testament, waited for the coming of Jesus Christ.

So this four weeks of Advent we started today, will be a period of spiritual waiting for the coming of Christ. This is why, the Universal Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar #39, tells us that, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight. Hence, Advent is a time of anticipation of the coming of Christ, and the expectation of readying ourselves to welcome him, into our lives and into our world. It is also a time of preparation and hope, as we begin our new Liturgical year. What are you anticipating this Christmas season? What are you spiritually expecting in your life this Advent season?

The Church calls on us through the readings we heard today, to anticipate the coming of Christ, and expect new things to happen in our lives, by spiritually preparing ourselves. So how do you prepare yourself spiritually, to welcome Christ into your life, and to make him visible to the world this new liturgical year? We can prepare ourselves by, taking a moment to do an examination of Conscience, to find out those things and sins that separate us from God, or that make it impossible for us to faithfully follow Christ. Secondly, we are urged to go to Confession, for the forgiveness of our sins, so that, we can begin this new year and new life cleansed from our sins. Thirdly, we are to do penance for our sins, as a process of interior purification, by doing acts of mercy or charity and mortification, so as to change our lives, and remain firm and faithful to God. Lastly, we have to pray always by talking to God, and by meditating daily on his word, to hear his voice as he speaks to us. My dear brothers and sisters, as you begin the Advent season this year, strive to come closer to God by examining your conscience, by going to confession, by doing penance for your sins and by praying always, and meditating on God’s word daily.