REFLECTION FOR THE SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) Week beginning 4TH DECEMBER 2022
Thursday of this week, December 8th, is the solemn Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is her greatest Feast. She was the only human being, born out of history’s human race, to have been free of the mark of Original Sin, passed down from Adam & Eve. So, she is the Immaculata and rightly referred to as the highest honour of the human race. This Feast will always occur within the Holy Season of Advent. She is the leading character and not just the leading lady of this Season – for the Son of God, during this Season, is in her womb – a foetus. In her great encounter with the Archangel Gabriel, young Mary declared that she was the handmaid of the Lord i.e. of the Holy Spirit. She was absolutely God’s servant. What the Archangel had revealed would be accepted by her in full, as the will of God. Once more, here in our parish, December 8th will be the setting for our Confirmation Mass.
Confirmation takes its name from its link with Holy Baptism. It literally firms up that great opening Sacrament of the 7. The Holy Spirit was fully received at Baptism. Confirmation is a further full infusion of the Holy Spirit given years later. Baptism is usually administered to a baby, but not exclusively so. The parent(s) of the baby will request Baptism on his or her behalf. As a teenager, however, the same child can itself request Confirmation. Both sacraments, so closely interlinked, are so very relevant to this Holy Season of Advent. At Baptism, the Faith promises were made on the child’s behalf – at Confirmation, the young people renew the same promises of Faith adherence. For us adults, these 2 sacraments come into sharp focus during this holy Advent Season. Both are lifelong gifts from God, as are all the Sacraments, to guide us and give us strength on our journey to God. The 2 distinct phases of this 28-day Season are akin to our entire individual lives in microcosm. Phase 1’s spiritual challenges (27th November to 16th December inclusive) will lead to the delighting in joy of Phase 2 (December 17th -25th). Our lives of long-time cross-bearing will lead to the joy of the Resurrection.