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Advent pivotal in setting tone to follow Christ


“We are to make way for new beginnings” as individuals cannot arrive at Christmas the same as they are today. This was the crux of the message from Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau in his Advent audio reflections.

Advent, the bishop highlighted is more than just a season on the liturgical calendar. Rather, it is more an orientation or an outlook on life.

The penitential colour purple signifies a disposition of change and repentance so that on the arrival of the Christ child at Christmas, the road is paved for a new birth.

“Like each season of the liturgical year, Advent has its own focus on a particular portion of the mystery of Christ which is to resonate in the spirit of the believer to inspire Christian action. In the liturgical scheme, therefore, one season prepares the Christian for the next.”

Bishop Malzaire explained by the time Christians gather to celebrate the Solemnity of Christ, they would have been imbued with Our Lord through the purposeful waiting in Advent, experienced a rebirth at Christmas, reflected on Jesus’ Passion and death in Lent, celebrated His glorious resurrection at Easter, experienced the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the everydayness of Christian living during Ordinary Time.

“We go full circle every year. However, only a good beginning can guarantee a fitting end. This is exactly why Advent is so pivotal in setting the tone for the Christian’s embrace of the total mystery of Christ,” Bishop Malzaire said.

He referenced St Paul urging the Corinthian community to adopt a posture of purposeful waiting.

“Paul’s words are a clear directive to be active while we wait. It involves working out the salvation to which the believer is destined. Jesus in the gospel stresses the necessity for vigilance and alertness.”

Bishop Malzaire reminded that the repentant mood of the prophet Isaiah, the desire to remain steady and without blame until the Lord comes, seen through the eyes of St Paul, and the active vigilance of the gospel are the “indispensable facts” of that Advent call.

“In practice, it is a call for each individual and each community to self-examine. It challenges us to love and repent from any form of hatred and discord which exists in the body of the Christian community. It calls for the healing of wounds, whether old or new, between nations. It challenges petty divisions between and among factions and families,” he said.

Bishop Malzaire then invited faithful to pray for the courage to sustain the qualities of God’s Kingdom—one of truth and life, holiness and grace, justice, love, and peace—so that even at Christmas faithful would have made some strides in that direction namely by welcoming the Christ child in their lives by the way they live, and with one with another.