Christ’s herald calls us to prepare for him by living in the Spirit and walking in justice as joyful witnesses to the Good News.
John the Baptist’s call is most appropriate. When barriers between God and his people are removed, justice and peace blossom on earth. In this season, however, we can be so busy – even in these strange days – that we do not have time for what is really important. We can miss seeing what is precious, what is beautiful. When we miss it, it does not renew us. In my own life the distractions of urgent (but not necessarily important) things usually increase at this time of year.
We prepare for the Lord by first recognizing what parts of our lives need forgiveness. We need God; we cannot get out of the darkness by ourselves; we cannot heal our brokenness alone. Christians must beg God for the grace of conversion: the grace to repent, change and grow; the grace to become good disciples and stewards. For our continued growth in Christ, we should also become aware of opportunities to share love with family and friends. Time spent paying attention to each other slows us down, especially when we have to make extra efforts just to figure out how to do so. It gives us the chance (perhaps after much patience) to appreciate one another.
In these simple acts of paying attention, giving support and connecting with each other, we discover what is truly significant in our lives. And we begin to imitate Christ. This is the best way to prepare for him.
We need only follow stories of violence in the news to realize that there is much in the world and our society that needs repentance and healing. Being witnesses to the Light, we say, ‘No’ to the darkness of violence. Our prayer is for those who suffer or die from violence, and particularly that every home truly may be a place of refuge and love.
Welcome Archbishop Marcel Damphousse
Working in the Archdiocese since mid-June, Archbishop Marcel Damphousse now begins his term as our Chief Pastor, the Archbishop of Ottawa-Cornwall, succeeding Archbishop Prendergast, now retired. We welcome him and look forward to his ministry among us. His letter is on our website.
Let us pause, reflect, repent and love that the peace and joy of Christmas may be part of our daily lives.