Fr. Britto's Blog

First Sunday of Advent 2018

Many years ago the atheistic existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus, as a young man of eighteen was walking down the main street of Algiers in North Africa. He and his friend came across a crowd of people gathered in a circle around a mom and her wounded little son. A truck had run over the boy and the poor mother was wailing as she was holding on to her bleeding boy. Camus watched the scene silently for a while and then moved on.  After a slight pause, Camus pointed an accusing finger towards the sky and then reprovingly declared to his friend: “Look, heaven is silent!” One of the strongest objections to the belief in God has been atheists’ claim that God is too far away or too quiet in our suffering and pain.

The message of our Christian faith asserts the opposite. Our God is neither silent nor distant. Out of love for sinful humanity, God decided to become one of us. He assumed our human nature and became one with us in all things but sin. He did not only come close to us; He became one of us. He is Emmanuel, God with us. As John writes in the prologue, “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”

Pope Leo the Great explained the mystery eloquently:

Invisible in his own nature he became visible in ours. Beyond our grasp, he chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time began, he began to exist at a moment in time. Incapable of suffering as God, he did not refuse to be a man, capable of suffering. Immortal, he chose to be subject to the laws of death.

When Mary bowed her head in submission to the Good News from Archangel Gabriel, she ushered in the final chapter of the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham and his descendants. When the Second Person of the Holy Trinity made His home in the womb of the Virgin Mary, Salvation History rushed towards fulfillment. That is why Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans: “For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). Therefore we have reason to hope and we can respond to the call of Jesus who said: “Stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand” (Luke 21:28).

As we enter the Advent season, I would like to invite all of us to put on the mindset of Mary and Joseph as they awaited the coming of Jesus. We all know that Christmas is the favorite time of the year for most of us. In order not to be seduced into the dominant expectations of our material culture, we need to embrace deliberately the authentic spiritual roots of our celebration. Let us remind ourselves what the heart of the season really is. Let us remember that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is the reason for the season.

We, Americans, are not good at waiting. Waiting often makes us impatient. We are a people of action who like to get things done as soon as possible. We are not called upon to wait as we wait for a bus or a train. We are not asked to wait as we anxiously wait for test results. We are invited to wait like a pregnant woman who awaits the arrival of her baby. We are asked to wait with hope. Just like Mary and Joseph, we await the coming of the Savior knowing that His arrival brought about a new era.

As we engage in “expectant waiting,” let us slow down a bit. Let us take time for things that matter: our faith, our family and our friends. Let us set aside time for prayer – individually and as a family. Let us open the Scriptures and read the story of Jesus’ birth. Let us recount the story to our children. Let us prepare gifts that come from the heart. Let us take time to write love notes to all those we love.

If the Lord is near, then what should we do? In his Letter to the Philippians Paul gives us the answer: “Rejoice! Rejoice in the Lord always because the Lord is near.” No matter what problems assail us, what burdens weigh us down, we can go forward because we are not alone. God is with us. God has become one of us. Let us spend this season in joyful hope.

Come, Lord Jesus! We await your coming.

Who is Fr. Britto?

Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.

After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...

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St. Paul of the Cross

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