A Catholic Monthly Magazine

… as we await the blessed hope, and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ

Fr Kevin Head sm

Fr Kevin Head sm

The Pope gave a lengthy interview in September. I was touched by the answer that he gave to the question, “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He thought for some time before answering, “I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner”.

After reflecting aloud on his motto, (Miserando atque Eligendo -- By having mercy and by choosing Him) and about Caravaggio’s painting ‘The Call of St Matthew’, he went on to whisper quietly in Latin, “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance”. *

My understanding of the word “penance” as the Pope uses it in this context is in the sense of repentance -- paenitentia in Latin and metanoia in Greek -- meaning a change of heart, a change of attitude, a radical turning away from sin and turning once more towards God, turning towards the light.

We are all sinners, and like the Pope, we trust in the mercy and patience of the Lord as we try to live in the spirit of repentance to which Advent calls us.

On the Second Sunday of Advent this year we are challenged once again by the words of St John the Baptiser, “Repent, for the reign of God is at hand”. We need to repent so that the Lord may come to life more fully in our living , “… as we await the blessed hope, and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (to use the words the priest prays after the Our Father at Mass).Bright journey

Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of the Lord. Yet the Lord is already here. He was born of Mary. He is living in us his people, day in and day out. He is present in the tabernacle, in the worshipping community at Mass, in the Word proclaimed, under forms of bread and wine in Holy Communion, in the person of the priest who leads the liturgical celebration, and in each person we meet.

So – we are waiting for someone who is already here. That makes sense when we realise that Advent is like waiting for a birth. Waiting for a birth is different from waiting for a bus. When we’re waiting for a birth “the one who is to come” has been there all along, hidden. And then a child, waited for as the “blessed hope”, comes into the light.

Advent is a form of giving birth. Each and every one of us is challenged to bring the Christ within us more into the light. Christ is in us, and during Advent we are called again to bring the living Lord to fuller life in our living, to allow Christ to be more real in our lives.

With Pope Francis, we “trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ”, which we accept in a spirit of repentance as we await the coming of our Saviour.

The Marist Messenger staff wishes our readers great joy in their celebration of the Birth of the Lord, and we pray that the Lord may come more fully into the light in all our lives.

*The full interview can be found at http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview


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