Today, we begin a new liturgical year, the year of Mark, and we enter into the rich and ancient season of Advent. For most Australians, Advent passes virtually unnoticed, as the celebration of what has become the very commercial feast of Christmas dominates everyone’s consciousness. Yet taking time to immerse ourselves in Advent offers us an opportunity to dive deeply into a counter-cultural time of quiet reflection, a space of hopeful waiting and discernment, and a clearer understanding of what those great Advent themes of hope, peace, joy and love actually mean.
The readings through the four weeks of this Advent season will take us from an apocalyptic vision of God breaking into the cosmos, to the warm, intimate stories of the final weeks, where Mary is the central figure. During this time, we are being prepared to see the unpredictable and unexpected way God breaks into our world – in the form of a little baby born in an occupied country to a mother without status, wealth or position.
Mark’s Gospel invites us into an active, joyful waiting for God to come to us as the Christchild, born for us in Bethlehem. As we begin this journey and step into this holy season, we are challenged to deepen faith and love in our lives and the lives of others.
At the same time, this very strange and challenging calendar year that has seen us locked down by COVID restrictions and unsure of the future, begins to draw to a close. As we light our first Advent candle today and begin our journey to Bethlehem, we are called to hope. After all God’s action in our world and in our lives today can be just as unpredictable and unexpected as it was all those years ago in Palestine!
In peace, Mother Lynda