I’m late writing this, this week, and it is Saturday morning that I am at my desk. Today is the last day of the liturgical year, tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent and the beginning of the new year. I was listening to some music yesterday and Dina Carroll’s the perfect year came on—it got switched off very quickly as it’s a New years Eve song, but it made start to think and reflect on what has happened in the last liturgical year.
I suppose the biggest thing to happen in the life of the Church in 2016, was the Year of Mercy. For the past 12 months the theme of the Church has been "Merciful like the Father" and every weekday in our parishes the Year of Mercy Prayer was recited after Holy Communion. Its been a time to look at our parish and ourselves and see where we show mercy and compassion, to each other and those in need, and maybe an opportunity be reconciled with God and each other. But this is not something that has to end because the Year of Mercy has ended, I would hope it has enkindled something within us and mercy and compassion will be virtues that we can put into practice everyday of our lives. Let us pray that we will be those loving, caring people we want to be and that we will be as compassionate and merciful like the Father everyday.
So the new liturgical year begins with Advent today (Year A), and the first candle of our Advent wreath will be lit. For some it will mean the beginning of the Christmas preparations, but for us, not quite yet. No the first part of Advent looks at the Second Coming of Christ, when he will come again in glory; the Christmas story is not mentioned at all in Church until the 17th December. People will be getting the lights ready for the tree and some may even have all their presents in and the food shopping either in or on order (I have none of that done yet!). But what about ourselves and our relationship with God? Have we set any time aside for us to be with God and are we ready to greet him when he comes in glory. The problem with our God is that he won’t tell us when he is coming again and so there is no possibility of putting a date in the diary or scheduling something to remind us on the computer, so Saint Luke’s advice today is poignant. Stay Awake!
So as we enter this new year maybe we can make a spiritual new years resolution to stay awake spiritually and be ready for when the Lord comes in glory.