We are now in the middle of the first week of Advent.  It feels like it came too soon and I wasn’t ready, though it is my favorite liturgical season!  It is a time that calls each of us to open our eyes to see new things, new faces, new situations in a different way.  It is a time that calls each of us to listen, to really hear the voices of those around us, to respond with love and compassion for all those hurting in these pandemic times.

The first candle of Advent is called HOPE.  We hear in the Scriptures about the hope of the Old Testament prophets who remind us that God is here, that we need to listen and see the wonders of God’s love and to wait patiently and expectedly for how that love will be revealed.

Hope is active…strong…filled with possibility.   Ron Rolheiser tells us: “Hope is grounded in belief in God and in the nature and power of that God.  A person has hope because God is infinitely gracious and powerful and, because of that, ultimately, everything will turn out for the good…Hope is a vision of life that guides itself by God’s promise, irrespective of whether the situation looks optimistic or pessimistic at any given time.”

HOPE is courageous!  It asks us to look beyond our own little corner of the world and to reach out to others who are in need, who hurt, who face oppression or war or racism.  Pope Francis has said that “HOPE is bold.”

This Advent especially we are called to live our HOPE courageously for the sake of the gospel.  As our world faces the increase of the virus, and more people sick and dying, we certainly need HOPE.  How will you live courageous HOPE this Advent?   How will you enter this season of holy waiting and expectation, of darkness and light?  What will be reborn in you this Advent season?

My prayer is that all of us will experience the God of HOPE filling our lives, opening our ears and eyes and making us ready the way of the Lord so that our hope will be bold and courageous. 

Barbara McMullen, CDP 

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