Happy New Year to you all! Today we begin the new liturgical year of the Catholic Church, Year B with the Advent season. Advent is a four-week season of preparation for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a holy season of preparation to worthily welcome Christ into our lives and our world. It is a time of watching, waiting and praying for the coming of Christ which means it is a time to look into our lives and see where we stand with God. The Advent season points out the coming of Jesus Christ, the first coming is what we await with the Solemnity of Christmas and the other, is the anticipation of Christ’s second coming on judgment day or at the end of time. We know how to prepare for the first coming of Christ with our Christmas decorations, shopping, gifts exchanges and giving, holidays cards, family time etc. But do we know how to prepare ourselves for the second coming of Christ?

"Be watchful! Be alert! For we do not know when the time will come. So how do we prepare for the coming of Christ? And what does Jesus mean by "be watchful and alert?”Jesus’s call to ‘be watchful and be alert" means that we should prepare for His coming by waiting and staying awake at all times in prayer and faithfulness to God. This preparation entails an examination of conscience - which involves reflecting prayerfully on one's thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins we have committed. The preparation for the coming of Christ also entails confessing our sins in the sacrament of confession/reconciliation and by an interior purification of ourselves by renouncing our sins, our imperfections and our earthly attachments through prayer and mortification, so as to focus ourselves on Christ our Savior.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we begin this season of Advent today, let us sincerely prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ by a contrite examination of conscience, by participating in the sacrament of confession or reconciliation and by purifying ourselves through prayer and mortification. Amen!