Diocesan Advent Service

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Homily Notes of  Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin  Archbishop of Dublin

Church of Saint Joseph the Artisan, Bonnybrook, 30 November 2019

“We come together to celebrate the beginning of advent.  Advent is a season of hope as we reflect on the meaning of the coming of Jesus Christ into human history.

During Advent our minds should be inspired by the same attitude as that of the Old Testament prophets as they awaited in hope the coming of the Redeemer.  The Prophets were sensitive to the experience of injustice and sin under which they lived and looked towards the coming of “the anointed one”, as one whose coming would bring them the newness of peace and justice and righteousness.

During Advent, we think then of the injustice, the evil, the violence, the injustice that exists in our time and we pray that Jesus’ coming will be a moment of deliverance, mediated through the way we believing Christians live.

The Christian of every generation is called to be awake and attentive to where society is slipping into wrong ways and to cry out like the prophet to return to the ways of God.

I think of those who today are burdened by homelessness and poverty, intolerance and discrimination, suffering and anxiety. We pray that Jesus’ coming will be in our times a moment of deliverance for them.

I think of the renewed violence on our streets and the callousness of those who feel they can intimidate our society into weakening our opposition to that business of death that is the drug trade.

We need to stay awake and be on our guard not to allow a seductive culture emerge which plays down the significance of new life and the value of each life or which introduces into our culture criteria which would determine that one life has less value than another.

I think of the words of Pope Benedict at his inauguration as Pope reminded us, “[Humans] are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary”.

I think of the emergence of a new language of racism, at times understated in its expression but just as nasty in its effects on men and women who need our help, our care and our respect.    I am horrified to find traces of such racism among believers.  The terms “refugee” and “asylum seeker” should only arouse heartfelt concern in the Christian heart.

We cry out not just as a voice of protest and condemnation.   We cry out to God who created the world and all its beauty, who created each of us in his own image, who created humankind as one family.  We cry out with the Psalmist trusting that the Lord will pour down his saving justice so that our earth and all that belongs to it can blossom with salvation and allow justice spring up within it.

We cry out in difficult times.  Yet we cry out with confidence as we know that the earth and all that is in it is the creation of the Lord, who never ceases to care for his creation until he finally comes again to bring it to its fulfilment.  The message of Advent is the confident message of Emmanuel, that still today God is with us to save us.

We turn to Mary as we reflect on how she, despite her natural perplexity, awaited in hope the birth of her firstborn, who was to bring salvation and new life into the world.  We think of Joseph who, also troubled, hears the words that the Lord addresses to him in a dream and does as the angel said trusting that God is with him.

We cry out, “Come Emmanuel” to free us from all that prevents God loves care from invading our hearts with new life and light and hope.”  ENDS