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First Sunday of Advent 2013

One of the things on my bucket list is to see the Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights which are an inspiring natural wonder visible in the northern regions of Canada and can be viewed illuminating the horizon as a glowing green or red.  The Inuit thought that their ancestors’ spirits could be seen in these lights.  I am inspired by the knowledge and faith of my ancestors who lived before me and whose spiritual legacy gives me hope.  The juxtaposing symbols of Advent are light and darkness.  We who believe celebrate the Light of the world whose presence dispels every darkness.  Here in the city there is not enough darkness to see the stars.   T.S. Eliot responded in a segment of "Choruses from The Rock."

O Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
Too bright for mortal vision.
O Greater Light, we praise Thee for the less:
The eastern light our spires touch at morning,
The light that slants on our western doors at evening,
The twilight over stagnant pools at batfly,
Moon light and star light, owl and moth light,
Glow-worm glowlight on a grassblade.
O Light Invisible, we worship Thee!

           
Advent is the season of mystery where we wait and God waits for us.  The first reading at the beginning of Advent focuses on the prophet Isaiah who had a vision of what is to come and what this means for the world.  His infectious joy calls us to live by the light.  Just as Isaiah’s prophecy rang true, through Jesus we can learn to put down our swords.   Psalm 122 offers us the possibility of another direction in one way to unlearn war by praying for peace within ourselves.  This Advent season we can pray for finding this inner peace so that we can bring it out into the world in all the work we do.  In our reflections we need to find the way to see how patterns of domination get enacted in our minds and hearts.
           
The Gospel reading from Matthew week reminds us continuously to be open the presence of God in our midst. In order to be ready for the arrival of Jesus we need to be aware and paying attention.  It is God who is waiting for us to notice the ways in which God is with us.  It is us  who need to be aware of the emptiness in our hearts that can be filled by a Loving Presence.

Jesus told his disciples: ‘You too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect’ (Mt 24:44).  He says the same to each one of us.  In doing so, he exhorts us to make this particular Advent the beginning of a lifelong Advent — a lifetime of waiting in Christian hope for His Second Coming, whenever that will be.  From listening to the news these past few months, we may be inclined to think that a revolution of peace cannot happen; that people of the world cannot work and live together; that wars will be ongoing; that people are unable to live in peace; and that economic and social justice will never happen.   The gospel tells us to “stay awake” and “be prepared” because God will come at any time.  This coming will be a source of light and hope.  “Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Reflection: 
Can I wait for the coming of Christ? Can I sit and pray through these weeks waiting for the arrival of Christ to come newborn in my life? Before or after meals, give thanks for the Greater Light, for the Light of Christ.  If possible, arrange to see the sky some night during Advent or with photographs. Light has long been an important metaphor and title for Jesus Christ.  Many Christmas
carols and hymns celebrate Christ's presence as the one who gives light. What is your favourite (s)?

– Helen Martinez PVBM



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