Advent Brings Hope and Joy

Friday, Dec. 08, 2017
Advent Brings Hope and Joy + Enlarge
Bishop Oscar A. Solis presides at the Mass during the diocesan Advent retreat.
By The Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis
Bishop of Salt Lake City
The season of Advent signals the start of a new Church calendar or liturgical year. The word “advent” is derived from the Latin “adventus,” which signifies coming. On Sunday, our Church began to celebrate this holy season focused on the two comings of Christ at Christmas: His second appearance at the end of time and His coming into our life at the present moment. Our source of consolation is that God desires to come and dwell with us. He sent Jesus, His only Son, to be born one like us except for sin, as a sign of His great love for us. This is what we anticipate celebrating on Christmas: the awareness of God’s abiding presence in Christ.
The advent of Christ elicits an appropriate response of readiness and watchfulness. We cannot let our guard down. Instead, we must stay sober and be prepared to open the door of our heart to welcome the Savior of the world and the light of all nations. Christ comes to bring love, mercy and the gift of God’s salvation.
The message of Advent has so much relevance today, when there is a prevalent indifference to the presence of God. Aside from the distraction from so many troubles that afflict the world – poverty, war, terrorism, natural calamities and senseless violence that cost so much suffering and loss of innocent lives – humanity is living in a world of chaos and confused values. We find our society absorbed by extreme individualism and materialism that negates, pushes away and forgets the existence of God. In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (#2) Pope Francis warns us that when man’s heart becomes consumed by the pursuit of worldly pleasures and the covetous love for himself, it leaves no room for God and others, especially the poor. We become deaf to God’s voice and deprive our heart of the peace He gives. The looming darkness of uncertainty, miseries and restlessness saps our soul of its energy and joy.
However, there is hope in the midst of turmoil. Advent offers us an opportunity to recapture the glow in our life and restore the light in our world. The message of this holy season is very clear: Christ is coming. This is the Good News and the Gospel of salvation. Let us sit still, stay sober and pray to make our heart ready to welcome Jesus, the Savior of the World. We must wake up from our slumber, prepare the way of the Lord and make straight His path into our life.
Advent is truly a time of grace – it brings us hope and joy. Pope Francis reminds us: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” (Evangelii Gaudium #2)
Share the Gospel and welcome the joy Christ brings. Let us also seek the intercession of our Blessed Mother, that her love for God and humility of heart inspire us to receive Her Son who comes into the world.
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