Wednesday, 14 December 2011

God reached out his hand...

Our Archbishop, George Stack, led a day of recollection for the priests of our diocese just before Advent. Among the handouts given were reflections for the Sundays of Advent. Here is an edited version of the one for the Third Sunday of Advent that I put on the front page of our newsletter this week. It seems to have touched people...
Someone is coming, a greater one than John the Baptist. If the 20th century did anything it certainly tested our hope. Sometimes we forget to tell the Good news because we feel the mud of human sin is sinking us. Advent is a time of hope. Someone is coming. He is coming into the genocide and ethnic cleansing, into our hunger and thirst. We are waiting with Hope because we trust in the promise.
More than faith or even love, I believe that it is Hope that tests our idea of God.  Hope asks “Do you trust God to be God?  Am I confident about God?  Am I sure about God’s promise? It is hope which asks me to put my hand in His hand and plunge into the night, to leave the shore, to put my face to the wind, to confront the waves and do battle with the tide... The darkness will never overcome. That is the hope of Advent.
For those who wait every hope is a great hope – we hope that the wounds of yesterday will close, that memories will heal, that the telephone will ring, that a son will come home...
Once we start hoping ourselves, we start bringing hope to others. Advent calls us out of the rut, to leave Nazareth and to follow the star to Bethlehem... God reached out his hand in the silence of the night and love entered the darkness. We put out into the silence of the night. The face of God is emerging. We feel the deep water around us. At this Advent moment we feel ourselves letting go to a higher power. This is a sacred space, an Advent space, a Hope space.
Pictures are from our 2009 Pilgrimage - sunrise ove the Sea of Galilee and Mass at the Grotto of the Annunciation, Nazareth

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