We stand at the threshold of yet another year in the Church’s liturgical life. Advent is a time of preparation. Celebrated from the fourth century AD, it is a season of hope. Isn’t that what we need now, hope? With all that has happened in the last couple of weeks in our national elections, we stand at the door both hesitant yet eager to see what the year may hold. We experience some anxiety of what may come, yet excited about the future with its promises and hopes. We are also in the hustle and bustle of all that Advent brings with preparations for the celebration of Christmas. That is what we want to be our focus; just like the old adage, “Jesus in the reason for the season.” Jesus is our hope who came to set us free from sin and fill us with the Holy Spirit.
We are also mindful that the Feast of Christ the King that occurs on the Sunday before the beginning of Advent, was also the close of the Extraordinary Year of Mercy proclaimed last year by Pope Francis I. It is the value of forgiveness and compassion. Recently a phrase from Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M., CAP (preacher to the papal household) said that “Forgiveness does for a community [or family] what oil does for a motor. If someone begins a trip in a car without a drop of oil in the engine, after a few minutes the whole car will be on fire. Like oil, forgiveness neutralizes friction. Let us remember in these days and weeks ahead to remember the gift of forgiveness and mercy.