The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds


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First Published in December 1999 Parish Magazine

The youth begging because he is homeless and the many who walk the surface of the world looking for a homeland, those who live in comfort and those who have plenty, those who are greedy for more and those who are grateful for a blessing are all called by the Advent Liturgy to prepare a way for the Lord. This call in 1999 has the added importance of being ready to celebrate the great jubilee of the birth of Christ.

For many the talk of Christ etc. is a religious thing, that has nothing to do with the real world. They associate that kind of thinking with those who have no idea of how things are managed in the hard and ruthless life of the modern day executive. The demand to be productive and the efforts to keep up with competition can easily be seen as more important than worrying about something like “am I ready for Christmas?” For many, religious people opt out from the problems of life and leave the worry of environment ,population explosion, monetary negotiations and the future of the world to real people who are too important in themselves to believe in the existence of God or the coming of Christ.

The challenge of Advent faces each of us every day. We are obliged as Christians, to bring to others the reality of a saving Redeemer and the qualities of mercy and forgiveness which He shows to each and every human being. We live in a time when people are searching for the truth and those who are supposed to teach it are wavering with doubt and sometimes lacking the conviction needed to be messengers of hope. Ask a question and the answer is often given in a cliché or a quotation that lacks the force, certainty or understanding necessary.

So how do we make sense out of the message of Advent? Where do I start? I need only look at my hands and see my own fingerprints different from everyone else’s. I look in the mirror and know nobody in the world looks like me or even if I had a double could think and feel exactly like me. I look at people sacrificing their free time to look after the elderly and needy, others with special needs getting joy from huge efforts to make small progress . I look at the world and all its wonder and see so much that even science has not worked out. All seems but a thin veil hiding a great intelligence and a wonderful planner. Maybe creation and the people I know make sense out of Advent, because such love and such power can only come from something beyond my intelligence. Prepare I will and I hope you will too. May Christ find you ready this Christmas and fill your hearts with Jubilee


Published Thu 6th Dec 2001 01:14:52

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