(1st Sunday of Advent)
Tuesday is my day off. Last Monday I decided to travel by train to Newcastle on Monday afternoon and spend over night there with a bit of reflection before entering into the Advent season. The next day, I went to the beach and had quiet time and reflection at the beach. It was great opportunity to encounter with my own self and God. It was indeed a great time to be with myself and to be myself before God. My reflection during that time was not so much about my ministry in the parish, but mostly about whom I am now and what God expects me to be.
Coming to the Advent season people tend to look forward to Christmas and it is true. Advent is indeed a preparation for the Lord’s coming (Christmas). However, looking towards Christmas can take us away from the present moment of Advent. While I am writing this reflection I recall the words of the parishioners, I met a few years back saying: “We spend so much time looking towards the future and contemplating the past, meanwhile we live in the present moment. The danger is that we are not aware of what is going on NOW”. We can miss the point of enjoying the present moment.
Last Tuesday, I really enjoyed my present moment with myself and God with the spirit of gratitude. I felt fresh, rejuvenated and energised. During the dinner with the “family group” of the parish on the same day some people gave the same comment on me: “You looked fresh”. I smiled at them with sense of happiness and whispered to my own heart: “I know the secret. Being myself and enjoy the present moment”.
This Sunday we begin our new liturgical year (C). This Sunday is the first Sunday of the four weeks of Advent. It is a rich and powerful season of the Church year. This is the time of “WAITING” but also a “time to be ALERT with ourselves”, time of RETREAT for the whole church.
Jesus is inviting us to take our time to encounter ourselves. He says: “Take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down …… praying that you may have strength ………to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:34-35).
Enjoy your four weeks time of retreat. God bless you.