ADVENT MESSAGE

ADVENT MESSAGE

Dear Friends in Christ

Advent is a time of preparation, waiting and hope. The Advent liturgy resounds with the longing cries of the Hebrew prophets, the voice of Jesus and John the Baptist’s preaching that the Lord is near during this period of COVID-19 pandemic. For us, it is a time to get ready and to build up the hope within our hearts for the promised coming of Jesus Christ! It begins with the preparation cry of John the Baptist “Make straight the way of the Lord”. John the Baptist goes ahead of the Lord to get everything ready for him. It is truly a time of preparation and expectation in anticipation of the Lord. It is a time for renewal. Over the next few weeks, we will travel once again the road that leads to Bethlehem. We will follow the cautious young couple along their arduous journey and remember their disappointment over being kept out of the inn. We will once more enter the stable, smell the odours and watch the manger being prepared. And along with the people of the village, the shepherds of the field, the angels and the magi, we will focus our eyes of adoration upon the child in the crib and the star in the sky.

The period of Advent is both a gift and a call from our Holy Mother Church. Every year the period of Advent helps us to “Re-encounter God, who stoops down to be one of us”. Christianity is the only religion where we find a God who comes in search of human beings to their place of living. After four weeks of intense preparations, we enter into the mood of Christmas. It is a festival of life. It is a celebration of God’s love for humanity. Christmas is the eternal story of God made man, the story of the infinity in the divinity in the birth of a babe and the unravelling of a divine mystery. The greatest gift of Christmas is Christ Himself.

The Bible calls Him “the Unspeakable Gift” and “Immanuel”- God with us. The greatest gift we can give to the people whom we love is our presence, time, positive energy and inner peace. The spirit of Christmas is all about finding Jesus and being in communion with God and one another. Therefore, during this moment ofCOVID-19 epidemic, it is more important to give than receive, to be more generous in our relationships rather than to withdraw and to serve than to be served. Each time when we celebrate Christmas, it should unveil the truth of the great mystery of God’s love for humanity.

How do we celebrate the birth of Jesus during this period of COVID-19? It is an important question that we need to ask ourselves. If we really desire Jesus to be born in us, then His incarnation will make us to be like Him in our life and mission. As we celebrate this significant event of the Church, what is our responsibility in the broken world of today by coronavirus? Is Christmas, a feast of hope to the despair, justice to the oppressed, bread to the hungry, shelter to the wanderer, unity to the dispersed and trust to the faithless?

No one can deny that celebration is intrinsically related to life and gives life. Therefore, “Christmas is a celebration of life”. God is not above, beyond or before us but He is with us and one among us. We have to recognize His presence as the Shepherds recognized Him. He is in the poor sick and suffering whom we tend to ignore. He is in our neighbour whom we can’t care to notice. The spirit of Christmas invites us once again to reach out to the poor, the lonely, the rejected and the downtrodden. It calls us to be like Jesus to one another. The message of Christmas is very clear that God who shared his life with us is inviting each one of us to share our life with one another during this moment of COVID-19 crisis. Let us find time during this Advent period to be united in prayer, contemplation and actual service, so that we can look into the faces of those with whom we live and express our peace, joy and love, thus become active heralds of the coming of God’s Kingdom.

Our Life is a constant Advent moment. We are continually waiting to become, to discover, to complete and to fulfil. Hope, struggle, fear, expectation and fulfilment are all part of our Advent experience. May this Advent period be a time for bringing hope, transformation and fulfilment into the Advent of our lives, particularly in the lives of COVID-19 infected and affected.Let us travel that road together, focusing on spiritual celebration and sharing our gifts with one another. Let us begin our Advent Journey of faith with an open mind and heart. Let us prepare our hearts for Jesus to be born as the Saviour of our life. Wish you all a fruitful preparation of Advent and a blessed moment of grace and peace.

Fraternally in Christ Jesus

Fr. Baby Ellickal MI

Provincial

St. Camillus: Saint of the Red Cross

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St.Camillus: The Priest III

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Camillian Video

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