During the season of Advent, our seminarians share their reflections on the Sunday readings. Today, Ciaràn Rooney, of the Archdiocese of Glasgow, asks what we can do for others this festive season…
The word Advent (Adventus in Latin) stems from the words ad and venire, literally meaning ‘to’ and ‘come’.
It’s quite appropriate that this word comes from a verb – a ‘doing-word’ – as it prompts us to ask ourselves, what should we be doing this Advent?
The Church looks forward with joy to celebrating Christ’s coming into the world on Christmas Day. But we also wait with faithful patience for His second coming – that we may be found doing work for His kingdom.
In the first reading today, we are reminded of God’s fulfillment of the promise he made to provide us with the strength and courage we need to do His work with honesty and integrity, fulfilled by the salvation won for us through His son.
In the Psalm, we respond to this reading by praying that through His grace, we will be guided to spend our time serving God and neighbour with love and humility, so that awaking on Christmas morning we may be found bearing the spiritual fruits of the work we have done throughout Advent.
Let’s not worry about what gifts we can get for others this Christmas, as Christ calls us to focus on what we can do for others.
St Paul reminds us to always prepare for this and to aim high, imploring Christ for the gifts to progress and draw closer to Him.
In St Luke’s Gospel, Christ calls us away from the trappings of the commercial ‘festive season’. We are not to pay attention to – or long for – worldly possessions. Instead, we seek Him in all things.
Working and praying for a closer relationship with Christ brings true happiness and goodness into our lives and the lives of others. Let’s not worry about what gifts to get for others this Christmas, as Christ calls us to focus on what we can do for others.
Our prayer may be quiet time away from the noise of the world, spent before Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. It might be visiting a Church for the first time. It may be time spent visiting the sick, the poor, the lonely or the imprisoned. Did not the shepherds, the Magi and the heavenly host come to pay homage to Christ, born into poverty in the stable?
Jesus promises in today’s reading the reward awaiting those who, in a world of ‘carousing, drunkenness and anxiety’, remain focused and prepared for His coming.
Let us be a sign of Christ to others this Advent – by our conduct, our prayer and our joy. For He is the true treasure of Christmas.