First Sunday of Advent 27 November 2022

We begin again; hopefully strengthened by the insights gained during the feasts and ordinary time of the previous year.

The prophet Isaiah invites, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.”

We need to go somewhere.

The plane country we inhabit has had its share of different challenges this year…the Gospel words, “for in those days before the flood”, are still pertinent in our territory. I was in Rochester on Thursday. Upwards of 96% of homes and businesses are flood damaged, in most cases, not safe to sleep or work.

The grinding war against Ukraine continues. Here at home, our news bulletins seem full of doom and gloom. Loss of faith in civic and church institutions. The battle for respect is violent in Iran. The lack of respect is still evident by authorities in Myanmar and so it goes on.

Seeming loss of respect in families and towards others here at home, however brilliant examples of people and their resilience in spite of “dungeon, fire and sword”.

Indeed, we need to go up to the mountain.

The first candle lit on the Advent Wreath today is called the Prophet Candle.

It reminds us of the former tough days when prophets arose to give people hope, and that is the key message today.

Against the rough times of the last year, we all experienced little glimpses, certainly little but in many cases large examples of hope. The birth of a baby, the teenager at last an adult, the roses did bloom, I was reconciled to my friend…

These are the desires for the new year. Strengthened by the previous year’s goodness, we again set out to “live decently as people do in the daytime.”

As we go out could we journey…rejoicing?

Let us bring a sound of joy to our family, to our community. We know that the good Lord will come in his own good time but in the meantime, we stay awake and seize the opportunities to “hammer swords into ploughshares, spears into sickles” and be a source of hope in our community.

Welcome to Advent.

Mons Frank