Broc’s Blog

In his poem Begin, Brendan Kennelly concludes:

 
‘Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
 
That always seems about to give in
 
Something that will not acknowledge conclusion
 
Insists that we forever begin’.
 
Advent, the beginning of the Christian year, insists that we begin again. Beginning again requires  looking in two directions, backwards and forwards.  We do so in faith. Looking back at what has happened for us in the past year, we ask how the past year impinged on our lives as believers.  For what do I ask forgiveness and for what, give thanks?  Looking forward, gives us the opportunity to begin again in walking as disciples of the Lord Jesus, staying awake and alert to the presence and call of God in whom we live and move and have our being.
 
As well as looking at once in two directions, beginning again also acknowledges presence and absence, having and not having. If we were fully present to God we would not yearn for his coming. If God were not already present to us in some way, we would not long for God’s coming again. Everything about us and our lives is characterised by ‘already’ and ‘not yet’, our relationships, our achievements, even our faith.  Only in Jesus, for whose coming we long, is God fully present. 
 
Advent is a time to open our minds and hearts to God, who as Pope Francis keeps reminding us, is a God of surprises.  It is a time for waiting.  During Advent, the liturgy of the Church takes us on a journey through the longing and the waiting of the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah. We hear the call of the prophets to prepare and the ringing voice of John the Baptist calling us to repent because his coming is at hand.  The example and companionship of Mary are offered to us.  Her patient waiting in faith and hope gives us our Saviour.
 
So we begin again, waiting in prayer, repenting of our sins, drawing closer to family, friends and those in need, full of joyful expectation.
 
Begin again! Come Lord Jesus!