On Sunday, November 21, 2021, Father Tony shared the next in his continuing Catholicism 101 series: As We Wait in Joyful Hope, a discussion about Advent.
Advent is a season that matches what the northern hemisphere is experiencing. We are preparing for the darkness to lengthen to the longest, darkest night of the year, just before Christmas. With Christmas, we see the beginning of the longer days and shorter nights as we gain more and more time in daylight. It is a time of waiting, a time of silence, a time of listening.
While Advent and Lent have some similarities, in Lent, we turn to God. However, in Advent, God comes to us. God has made promises to us and we see in the first reading of Advent how He promises to fulfill what has been said.
Father Tony shared about those with whom we will journey through this Advent. First, is John the Baptist. He challenges us to pay attention to the call of the Lord so we don't miss it. We conclude with Mary, and her wonderful Fiat, let it be done to me as you say. Like us, she doesn't know what lies before her. She only knows that through God, it will all be as it should. She invites us, during this season of Advent, to make our own fiat, to be ready for the Lord, to trust it will all be good, and we can draw comfort in a God of promises.
Music plays an important role in Father Tony's life and he shared two songs that speak to his heart about this season. The first is "Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)". You can listen to it here: Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol) The second is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" in Spanish. There are some subtleties that differ in translation between English and Spanish in many areas. Veni, means "to go", but it is a word that means the action has already started. Not only is Emmanuel going to come some day, He is on His way. You can find a version with the lyrics here: "Veni, Veni Emmanuel"
As he concluded, Father Tony shared with each of the students a sheep he brought back for them from Mexico. It is a visual reminder of our role as the sheep in the flock and there is a shepherd who loves and cares for us.
Father Tony left us all with a challenge: to seek the quiet moments in this season, to remember this is all part of the waiting, and to listen to what God has to say to each of us as He is coming to us this Advent.