Fr Richard is a member of the Chaplaincy Team at St Brendans Catholic Sixth Form College. He offered this reflection at their All College Advent Assembly. Perhaps it might help your Advent Journey?

In a few days time some of us here are going to vote in the General Election. I know most of you do not yet have the vote. But this Election will shape the future development of the nations of the United Kingdom. We all have a sacred responsibility to reflect and act to shape that future – and not only for the UK. With the Climate Control Conference taking place in Madrid at the moment we are all being confronted with the urgency to take strong and decisive action now to secure the integrity of our planet for future generations. 

What has this got to do with the Christian Season of Advent? If you think Advent is about Christmas Lights and an excess of spending and partying, you are wrong. It is about what is our vision for the future? What responsibility are we going to take to shape a future where the dignity of every human person is safeguarded? Are we going to build a world free from poverty? Are we going to find ways to bring an end to armed conflict and replace weapons of destruction with tools of creativity? Are we going to change our life-style from one that exploits our Earth to one that lives in Communion with our beautiful and fragile planet and its creatures?

In the very first pages of the Bible we hear a story that tells us that God is entrusting the Earth to our care – not giving it to us to exploit and pillage! A few pages on we hear of some sort of prophet called ‘Balaam’ – he is described as ‘a man with far-seeing eyes’.This Advent is a call for all of us to be ‘men and women of far-seeing eyes’! Later prophets, like Isaiah, constantly challenged the people of their own time and us as well – will we build peace instead of waging war; will we free people of slavery and injustice, instead of always seeking our own quick profits; will we at last learn how to live in harmony and friendship with the planet, protecting the Forests and the animals.

The word ‘Advent’ means ‘the Coming’ – how we are to build the future towards the moment when all creation will radiate the Glory of God’s Love., for that s the goal of evolution.  As we Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus 

2000 years ago, we must decide to bring a new kind of world to birth … before it is too late. A world where the voices of the poor, the cries of those on the margins of society and the groanings of our wounded planet are listened to and allowed to rise to the top of every personal agenda and every political programme.

The birth of Jesus celebrates the infinite dignity and worth of every human person; so this child born homeless in a stable asks why are there over 120,000 children homeless and in temporary accommodation this Christmas in 2019 Britain; so this child who had to escape the tyranny of a vicious dictator and seek asylum in a foreign country begs us to find room in our hearts and our land for more of the 67 million refugees world-wide – and especially the unaccompanied child refugees; so this child who grew to become the Universal Brother teaching us we are all one family cries out to us to break down all walls of division, demolish the ideologies of racism, anti-semitism and prejudice. 

How will you celebrate the birth of this Child? Will you dare to catch the  Advent vision of a world filled with freedom, equality and human compassion: filled with a truly Divine Love.

Maybe you cannot vote in this General Election, but the future of our world is most surely in your hands. Don’t close your eyes and refuse to see; don’t close your ears and refuse to hear; don’t walk by on the other side while humanity dies and the Earth weeps. But harness your energy, your education and your passion and bring a new world to birth! … starting NOW!

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