Today we begin the season of Advent as a season in which we anticipate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Today we are also reminded of the need to be vigilant in order to prepare for the coming of our Savior. Today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 tells us why we need to prepare and be vigilant as it informs us of the end times and the events that will take place then, assures us of the salvation at hand in the incarnation of Christ. Today’s gospel reading also urges and encourages us to wake up to the signs of the times, that is, pay attention to the way the world is going or what is going on in our world today. Jesus in our gospel reading gives us a vivid picture of the turmoil that will take place in the heavens, the pain and agony that will exist among nations, the casualties of death from the fear of the impending calamities. But Jesus goes on to remind us to “be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.” So we are called today to be vigilant and to prepare for this day by Jesus, but what does this preparation entail? We all know how to prepare for Christmas as some of our have done our Black Friday shopping, online sales shopping, Christmas decorations, cards etc. This call to vigilance and preparation entails an examination of conscience, confession, prayer and acts of charity.
An Examination of Conscience involves reflecting prayerfully on one's thoughts, words, and deeds in order to identify any sins. We need to take our time this Advent season to examine our consciences and prayerfully find out in what ways we have offended God. Confession is one of the sacraments of Christian Healing instituted by Jesus Christ in his love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for offenses against God and against our sisters and brothers. Confession brings reconciliation between God and the penitent, between the penitent and others, and to the individual penitent. So we need to actively participate in this sacrament this Advent season so as to come closer to God.
Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or our communication and conversation with God in which we praise Him, worship Him, adore Him, thank Him for all He does for us and ask Him for our needs. So we have to pray always and especially more this season of Advent to truly prepare ourselves to welcome Christ into our lives and world on Christmas day.
Act of charity is an act or feeling of kindness or goodwill or a voluntary gift of money or time or prayer or presence to those in need. It is an attitude of kindness and understanding towards others. St. Paul in our second reading in his the letter to the Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 reminds us to be charitable by increasing and abounding in love for one another and for all.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, as we begin the Catholic Church’s New Year today with the season of Advent let us prepare ourselves for Christ’s incarnation through the practice of examination of conscience, by actively participating in the sacrament of confession, by praying always and by acts of charity. Amen!