Living in Hope - Awake and Alert

As we begin a new liturgical year, we hear St. Paul encouraging the people of Corinth to remain firm in hope, trusting in the faithfulness of God. After journeying in Paul’s footsteps this past October, visiting the places where the communities to whom he wrote once lived and prayed, it led me to wonder: if St. Paul were to write a letter to our parish, what might he want to say to us? 

From the Letter of Paul to the Church in Montreal:

Brothers and sisters who gather in the house of Monica, you are invited in this Advent season to journey toward the Light that is Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures remind us that the Lord will return at an hour we do not expect, so be alert and vigilant!

It is not easy to remain constantly watchful. In my day, we expected Christ to return while we yet lived.  Two thousand years after Christ returned to the Father, here we are, still waiting!  It is not easy to keep faith alive, to ignite the spark of hope, to tend the fires of love.  But it is what the Lord is asking of you.  Yes, even in the midst of the economic struggles and political uncertainty of these days, of persecutions of our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Nigeria, you must be bearers of light and beacons of hope.  Pray for the success of our brother Francis’ mission of peace in Turkey. Think of all the reasons you have to hope.  Write them down.  Tell your children.  Share them with your friends.  Post them on Facebook!

Live and act as sons and daughters of light.  Allow God to cast His light upon the shadows of your lives.  Do not doubt his power to give you strength in the struggle against evil, courage in the face of death, perseverance and fidelity in your relationships, and joy in handing on this faith to a new generation of Christians.  Whatever darkness may threaten us, Jesus comes with his life and his light.  He makes you children of the light.

Be proud of the light within you and nurture it well. By that light, Christ is living and active in the world: do not fear the darkness!  Stand firm and remember that God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that we too may live in hope.  Continue to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, give hope to the hopeless. May the God of peace keep you alert and awake, helping you to recognize Him wherever he appears in your life. Let the hope of Advent give birth to the joy of Christmas.