A New Beginning

First Sunday of Advent (B)

Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church which makes the first Sunday of Advent like “New Year’s Day” for us Catholics. When we think of the New Year, we often think of new beginnings. We make resolutions to accomplish certain goals, or to give up bad habits. Even though statistics show most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned before the end of January, it’s not a bad concept. We all need a chance at a new beginning from time to time. Given the events of 2020, we feel that now more than ever.

The celebration of the Church’s New Year reminds us that the one who offers us a true new beginning is Christ. The first reading from Isaiah asks the poignant question, “Why do you let us wander, O Lord, from your ways?” Why do you allow us to sin? Why do you permit us to do evil; to cause harm to ourselves and others? Why allow us to experience fear and despair? What else could the answer be other than to allow us to make a return to the Lord? And so we pray with Isaiah, “Would that you might meet us doing right.”

In the gospel, Christ reminds us to be watchful and alert, for we do not know when the day will come when we shall meet the Lord, therefore we must always be alert and ready. If we want the Lord to “meet us doing right” at his coming, we must begin today. This Advent, when so many of our holiday traditions will be disrupted, let’s take advantage of the way this pandemic is shaking us from our comfort zones to be converted to Christ anew; to turn once more to the Lord and see his face, and there find mercy, peace and love. Let’s make a new beginning.