Welcome to a new Year of Grace! As the Church observes the First Sunday of Advent, a new liturgical year begins – in Church lingo the Year of Grace 2020. This year that begins today will take us to November 28, 2020. And within this Year of Grace, the Diocese of St. Augustine will celebrate its 150th Anniversary – our sesquicentennial. (More on those celebrations later.)
I’ve written in this column before that Advent is my favorite season of the Church year. Despite the reality that it has been lost in the commotion of the secular “Christmas” observance, Advent calls the true follower of Christ to walk to the beat of different drummer. (Maybe that little drummer boy of Christmas carol fame has something to teach us!) Anyway, Pope Francis also reminds us of Advent’s spiritual importance:
“The season of Advent restores … a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word. A hope which does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! … Let us reflect upon and feel this beauty.”
One writer caught, for me, one of the reasons we have lost Advent and Christmas: a culture that is caught up more in the swifter currents of consumerism and efficiency instead of the venerable rhythms of Redemption in Christ. Christian hope relies on not getting the quick fix. The path to our salvation in Christ took hundreds of years to get to following the first sin of Adam and Eve. The path to God’s final coming at the end of time must keep us vigilant over time. Focused on God’s Holy Word, we can find the path to hope and patient waiting. After all, we heard Jesus tell us a few Sundays ago in the Gospel: By your perseverance you will gain your souls (Luke 21:19).