Advent/Immaculate Conception

Bulletin Date: 
Sunday, December 3, 2017


Advent is that time when we are called to be mindful of the arrival of Jesus’ birth. It is a time to prepare for God entering into our humanity taking on our very nature and experience. The scripture readings we shall hear during this season tell us about the yearning of the prophets for a Messiah, the bold preaching of John the Baptist, and again and again there is the encouragemen t to be watchful and vigilant for the coming of the Lord.

But Advent is not just a symbolic re-enactment of the Hebrew’s long wait. It is not just a way of remembering that there was a time when Jesus really did walk the earth. Advent is a time for us to prepare for Jesus’ birth when God becoming one like us living our lives right now, full of 21st century challenges and anxieties. Advent invites us to step out of our linear rush through time, to set aside our customary workaday activities in order to wait. But this waiting is not something passive. Rather, it an active, alert, attentive waiting.


The Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8) cuts through the season of Advent. And because of this “cutting through” we sometimes miss the significance of this feast as we rush to Christmas season. But this feast of Mary occupies an important part of Advent. It is because this Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, placed in the context of the Advent season, heightens the ideas of preparation and waiting. God Himself prepared for the coming of His Son by keeping Mary free from the stain of original sin which all human beings share with the first parents Adam and Eve. Thus, if the Church asks us to prepare for the coming of the Son, we are given a model in Mary as God the Father prepares for His Son's coming. We can say that when we faithfully prepare for the coming of Christ, whether it be the Parousia or His Birth, the act can be said to be of divine model in itself because we share with the Father this active desire to have for the Lord a ready place when He comes.