2nd Sunday of Advent
St. John the Baptist Church, Beal Átha na Marbh
St. Colman’s Church, Macroom
5th December 2021
“Best made plans…”
We make plans believing they will be realised without a hitch. Despite the immortal words of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns
“The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft a-gley”
The experience of the last two years has surely taught us that we make plans at our peril. Recent new developments round the Omicron variant have brought a new mood of uncertainty. Even our sense of Advent and Christmas is suddenly different because of it. Our normal sense of lift of mood and anticipation is hampered.
These thoughts come to mind because our religious and spiritual celebrations do not happen in isolation from the rest of life. So it is only wise and prudent for us to acknowledge this wider reality of individuals, families and indeed the whole of society feeling uncertain and even jittery because of the invisible deadly virus among us. It can lead to the death of one of us!
Yet our lives cannot be put on hold. While taking the precautions recommended to us to heart, we need to engage life in a spirit of positivity. Advent is a season of hope. Because of what God in Jesus has done among us, we can begin again. The readings give us a picture of rough paths being made smooth and twisted paths being straightened. The Church invites us to look again at the path we have been on. If we find ourselves disturbed or unhappy it is a sign we should take a deeper look at what may be happening for us and why.
Looking at society in Ireland to-day there is so much to be thankful for by way of employment, education and health. That is not to forget the housing crisis / climate issues for many and the strain that causes for families. Beneath all of these issues there is an unnamed uneasiness of levels of fragmentation in peoples lives. Put another way – many people are finding it difficult to hold things together. That is often reflected in addictions of one kind or another. Addiction of whatever kind is a sign of imbalance in one’s life,
Much of our frustration and dissatisfaction in life comes from unrealised expectations. So, when we seek to identify why we may be unhappy or discontent – it is good to ask if that is coming from within ourselves by way of attitudes and ways of thinking or is it from without ourselves by way of challenges at work or in your significant relationship?
What I am pointing to here is our personal responsibility to follow a good, positive life path regardless of Covid or Omicron – and Advent is a natural God given time to do this important thinking for our own wellbeing and those around us. The Sacrament of Confession / Reconciliation is a graced opportunity to celebrate this inner journey with the Lord. I know some may feel uncomfortable doing so at this time.
Nevertheless, you can take the Confiteor time at Mass to do so until you have the Sacrament available to you.
Our plans may be upset – Yet the deeper issues remain and Advent is a good time to address them.