Sometimes things just come back to me ….

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

I’m just in from 10am Mass here in Kilmovee and thought I’d put a few lines here.  I was speaking today about getting ready for Christmas and the need to allow this time of Advent speak to us as well.  It seems to get lost in the talk of, commercialisation of, anticipation of …. Christmas.  That’s understandable of course.  We need joy and any occasion that has the potential to bring about joy should be welcomed.  No argument there …

I talked about Sat Nav and what a useful aid it is to us on our journeys, particularly when going to a place we’ve not been before. For it to work it needs to be connected to the car’s battery or at least charged.  Without that connection, it’s just a piece of plastic.  It’s only when power is pumped into and flows from the unit that it can achieve its true potential.  Likewise with ourselves.  We too need that connection – that charge – to be at our best, focused and directed.  The Sat Nav seeks to keep us on our journey and should we go astray, for any reason, it can easily get us back on track with the simple reminder that it is “recalculating”.  Once done, the recalculation gets us back on the intended path.  During Advent there may well be distractions, some even well-intentioned, where Christmas is brought forward – rushed – but we may well need to re-calculate and get back on the Advent Track.  If we go completely the wrong way, the Sat Nav encourages us to “make U-Turn when possible” – this can be a very dramatic but necessary manoeuvre that reminds us we’ve lost direction and need to alter our ways.  Advent allows for that too with its emphasis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I mentioned that this year, in our Cluster of Parishes, we will have a celebration of Confessions in all the churches at the same time on Sunday December 23rd.  This idea, borrowed from the Archdiocese of Boston, is called “The Light Is On For YOU” and means that there will be a priest in every church within our parish cluster.  This is an ideal opportunity to “make a u-turn” should there be need or just to “recalculate”.  This is truly at the heart of Advent – the call to repentance and new beginnings.

Then something came back to me … it was a scene from a TV series I like very much.  It is called “The West Wing” and there’s a scene in one episode when a memo has been leaked about the president.  It’s along the lines that he is weak and lacking in back bone – not willing to take risks.  His Chief-of-Staff – his friend who had initially encouraged him to run for presidency is arguing with him and saying there’s a certain truth in this.  The president (Josiah “Jed” Bartlet – played by Martin Sheen) is frustrated and comes to realise that he has been afraid to speak for various reasons and arrives at the conclusion that his speaking the truth of what he sees is more important than re-election.  This is exactly what his friend needed to hear to spring him into action.  Bartlet asks if there is a strategy.  McGarry, the Chief-of-Staff, quickly scribbles something on a note and says they have the beginning of a strategy.  He throws the notepad on the President’s desk and it reads “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet”.  In other words be the man you are.  Be what we know you are.  Be yourself.  As far as I remember this featured early in the series when McGarry was encouraging Bartlett to run he said the same.  Bartlet had gone astray because he lost sight of who he was and what he was capable of.  He needed to be Bartlet to let Bartlet be.

What had this to do with what I was trying to say today?

LET ADVENT BE ADVENT!!

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