1st Sunday of Advent (B) 2017

Today, the First Sunday of Advent – the beginning of the Church’s new year.
For those sensitive to the liturgy it is year B for Sundays and year 2 for weekdays.
Advent is a time of preparation.
A time of preparation for the Lord’s second coming and for the anniversary of the Lord’s first coming on Christmas day.
Last Sunday we examined the idea of the Last Day and Judgement – the Lord’s Second
We examined the idea that each one of us is his/her own judge. That our judgement is what each of us do or don’t do; what each one of us is or is not.
We have no idea about what Eternal Life will be like. It will not just be life that goes on and on. It will be a sharing in the life of our God and our Creator.
One thing we can be sure of is that sharing in the life of God involves the following, and I quote; ‘We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in them.’
So, how can I share in the life of God if I hold enmity or hatred, or anger or jealousy towards another person – towards one of God’s beloved children? How can I meet my neighbour in Eternal life if I am still seeking revenge on him/her?
How this is to be ironed out (if it can be ironed out)? ; your guess is as good as mine.
One thing for sure; I cannot live in union with God in eternal life if there are people around who I refuse to meet or talk to.
This is what Jesus of Nazareth is talking about when he told us;
‘if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.’
The above are graphic stories or examples of what I need to do now.
Some time ago I visited a person who was dying. He knew he was dying. He was content to die. He felt at peace with his God. I brought up the name of a person with whom I knew he was at enmity, hoping that, at least in his own mind, there was some reconciliation. He immediately flared up in anger towards that person. The next day he died, I hear peacefully! Seeing as our God has given us free will and respects our free will, I often wonder what God can do in cases like that, which are many.
Back to Advent. The time for preparation, not Just for Christmas, but also for our entry into Eternal Life.
Why not think of this Advent as being ‘on my way to court with my opponent.’ This is my opportunity to settle with my opponent – to seek reconciliation, to offer reconciliation, to seek healing for hurts given and received, to try and realise that, as in my own life, many ways I react and act are the result of my upbringing, environment and genes. So too for other people. Realising and accepting that we are all wounded in one way or another, be it physically, psychologically or spiritually, can help me to be tolerant, forgiving and understanding.
‘You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God.’
Advent is a good time to try and walk with my God.