Advent has multiple meanings at many levels. It is a favourable time to undergo a change of heart and to make a new and determined advance in our spiritual journey. God gives himself to each one of us according to our capacity to receive Him. Advent is a time of hope and the virtue of hope is a wonderful thing to meditate on this season, to pray for, to revive within ourselves because the more pure and empty of ourselves we are, the more pure and powerful is our hope. Hope is something that we can search for in the word of God especially in the prophet Isaiah. The divine words can be our support.
St. Paul tells us in chap 15 of the Romans that our God is a God of hope. We need an experience of prayer in order to have an experience of hope. Prayer interprets the hope in our hearts and gives it expression. The point of hoping is hoping when there seems to be no reason at all for hoping. Our hope is pure when it no longer trusts in visible means and supports nor rests in any visible end. In pure hope we trust in God whom we do not see to lead us to things beyond imagining. Our trials give rise to endurance and endurance gives proof of our faith and a proved faith gives ground for hope. We know that hope is not deceptive because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which has been given to us (cf Rom 5).
John the Baptist embodies hope because he was the precursor of Jesus the Messiah. His mission was to announce Jesus and yet he had not seen him but he lived in expectation of seeing him. He lived to see his hope fulfilled. The role of the prophet in Israel was to keep the people's hope alive. To give hope to someone is the most beautiful gift that can be offered. A miracle happens each time a seed of hope blossoms in a persons heart, everything seems different even if nothing has changed. By our baptism and religious consecration each one of us is called to be a prophet. John was a true witness to God's presence in the world because John points beyond himself. John was the first and great witness and we are called to be like him, to make the challenge of faith, that will shine out and give hope not only to all who come to us but to the whole world. In every Eucharist the spirit and the bride say to Jesus come Rev:22 :17 and we too who have been listening say to Jesus, come Maranatha!
Lord Jesus we are an Advent people.
Help us to be a sign of your presence,
A voice to your word,
A witness to your way
as we wait in joyful hope for your coming.