We prepare in Advent for the coming of our Lord, firstly at the end of time, and then from Monday we prepare to receive Jesus at Christmas. We remember that the Angel Gabriel addresses Mary: “Rejoice”, “The Lord is with you”. Then he says “Do not be afraid” and, as he prepares to tell Mary the details of his message he says “Listen!” These words are not just for Mary, they are for us. The people who were with Jesus during all or part of His ministry felt that God was with them in a special way, even though they did not know exactly how. They also listened and rejoiced. We know more than those crowds because we have received the fullness of God’s revelation. We might ask ourselves, therefore, whether we really rejoice because we believe the Lord is with us. Are we afraid, particularly when we see difficulties, or do we trust in God? Do we listen, particularly when we pray and read the scriptures, or do we stop short at telling God our worries and making a list of requests? It is good that we tell him our worries and humbly ask Him for help, but God wants us to let Him help us much more by allowing Him to speak to us.
This Sunday we hear from the prologue of St John’s Gospel. This reminds us that John the Baptist is the “witness to the light”. In these days of electric light we can take light for granted. It is available even in the darkest hours and the dullest days! We should beware. Technology and the comfort and convenience it brings can be deceptive. We were given the light of Christ at our baptism. We must pray, fast, give alms and listen if we are to receive the benefit of that light today.
Yours in Christ Fr. Timothy