St. Edmund Campion Parish, Maidenhead

1st Sunday of Advent, Year C (29 Nov 2015)

End of the year.

End of the year. Balance of good and bad deeds? I don't know how useful a list of achievements or failings can be... Perhaps it would be better to find out what interesting things happened in our lives last year. What did I learn for my life? What will last forever from last year?

But look, the year has not yet finished and the church says to us: hey, look, a new year is starting! Today is the first day of the liturgical year. A beginning, a new beginning. A new start. “The only joy in the world is to begin. It is good to be alive because living is beginning, always, every moment.” (C. PAVESE, Il mestiere di vivere [This Business of Living]).

During Advent, with the beginning of the liturgical year, the liturgy of the Church strives to reawaken this experience in us. The possibility of beginning ever anew is not first of all related to our own abilities, but to the event of one who comes to save us: Christmas, God coming to us as a human presence.

A new beginning is, again, not a shopping list of achievements for the new year. This is a measure that doesn't really change anything. More effort than it is worth. The point is to realise that something is about to happen. Sometimes, when someone is about to arrive, we are excited. The expectation anticipates the change in ourselves that the presence will produce. Our reputation precedes us sometimes. In a similar way a presence can already work even before its arrival.

The gospel today shows us that there are not preconditions for the arrival of his presence. He can come any time. Even the worst situation is not an obstacle for his coming. Sometimes God uses the terrible situations to arrive. So he can show us that it is he, it is not the just the consequence of antecedent things that happened, but something new. Even, a new beginning set up by Him for us.

Today the Lord says to us: "I give you a new year. Don't think too quick: how am I going to use it? No. Just appreciate that I am giving a new year to you as a gift. Don't think too quick that you know what is in the gift, in the package, in the wrapping. Look into it! I am there! Look, I am arriving to you, don't you realise it?"