Maybe some of us don’t feel ready to journey another year with Christ, maybe some of us feel there is nothing left to learn. Advent is a time for us to find new energy, new desire for God. We turn to the ancient people to learn again from them how to hunger for the fulfillment of God’s promise. How they hungered for the Messiah’s birth, we hunger for the second coming of Christ. This Advent, let us enter into their reality and wait for Christ with them.
Let us begin where we normally do not, with the Psalm. Psalms are the prayers of the ancients; through them we look into the private conversations between their hearts and God. In this Psalm we find an honesty before God. The Psalmist recognizes that God is special, and that he needs him. God is kind and constant; he is good and upright. The Psalmist lifts his soul to the Lord, and he wants it to stay there with God.
If we begin this year humbly accepting that there is still distance between our souls and God, we will be ready for more growth. The Psalmist recognizes his sinfulness before God saying, “God shows sinners the way,” and “God teaches the humble his way.” We only grow if we are honest about who God is and who we are. God is holy, and we are still sinners.
Some are afraid to recognize their sinfulness, because they feel it is a lack of love for oneself, but accepting that we are sinners is not the same as hating ourselves. The second reading says, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” This includes love for ourselves. God loves us not because of how we are but because of how he is. He is love, and he teaches us to love even the sinner. Accepting how we truly are, we recognize even more clearly how God is love. Honesty with ourselves opens the door to our growth.
This year, Pope Francis has called for a Jubilee Year of Mercy where he prays that we “encounter the mercy of God.” It begins Wednesday, December 9th. He says, “It is indeed my wish that the Jubilee be a living experience of the closeness of the Father, whose tenderness is almost tangible, so that the faith of every believer may be strengthened and thus testimony to it be ever more effective.” Every believer. This is why on Monday, December 7th we will have six priests here to hear our confessions during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Let us begin this year the same way we begin every Mass, with honesty and truth before God. “I confess.” When we recognize the difference between us and open the possibility to grow closer to him. In this way we become ready for another year of journey with Christ to the Father.