• Advent as a Retreat and a Time of Great Hope

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Advent as a Retreat and a Time of Great Hope

Father Mulholland spotted Christmas trees for sale next to Halloween candy at Costco and had an ‘epiphany’!
…perhaps our Advent should be a refuge for our society from an ever-expanding, ever-more-commercialized and premature Christmas.

For the record, ‘Christmas’ is an ‘octave’, or ’12 days’ having nothing to do with ‘Black Friday’, but rather beginning on Christmas Day itself and ending this year on Sunday, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany. (Just think of all the ‘after’ Christmas deals to be had on December 26th!)

Yet more to the point, Father Mulholland says in this homily that Advent, celebrated on the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is to be a time of great hope.  Admitting to a certain dreariness in this Sunday’s readings, Father Mulholland said, “All the readings we heard today were written at a time when all in fact did seem to be hopeless to the people.”

He went on and offered us these memorable moments from this homily: “Today we live in a time that, for some, may appear to be hopeless.  We live in a time where we are under the threat of war and terrorism.  We live in a time of religious hatred and intolerance; we live in the time of a difficult economy, unemployment and under-employment and all of these things affect individual people and families.  They all have names and faces, they are real people and we know many of them.  For them, this is anything but a season of hope, even for many close by to us.

“And yet, in reality, there is always hope.  That is what Advent this year can mean for us.  There is hope for us as Catholics because we know that God truly does love and care for us.  As the responsorial Psalm said today, “Good and upright is the Lord; he guides the humble to justice and teaches the humble his way.”  We can rest in that promise just as the people in Jeremiah’s day rested in the promise, as did the people in Saint Paul’s day and the people that Saint Luke wrote his gospel for, as we do today.”

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