A New Beginning – a Pastoral Message from Father Ryan Bennett

Father Ryan Bennett

Isn’t it ironic that amidst all the devastation and upheaval of this past year, the church calendar gives us Advent? Ironic, because many have forgotten what it feels like to experience new beginnings and hope for new things, when we’ve been conditioned by the present circumstances to focus purely on what’s in front of us. If anything, we’ve come to discover how our natural sense of survival is closer at hand than what we care to admit. Discovering this may be a new thing it itself, don’t be afraid of it.

The season of Advent offers us the moment to reflect on the many new things we’ve learned to live with throughout the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with this, the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter movement of such a wide scale confronts us, compels us, to shed old skins which prohibit us to see each person as created equally in the eyes of God, regardless of the color of their skin. Associated with this, many of us, myself included, lament our part in both a social and economic order which has allowed cycles of racism and inequality to continue in an age where this should no longer be the case.

See, to name these realities leads us towards discovering new learnings within both individuals and communities which call out for new things, new beginnings. In respect to the pandemic this reality is reflected in the fact that the vast majority of people who have adversely felt the full effect of the virus in this country have been people of color.

We’re compelled to look for new things, a new way of life and Advent offers each one of us an opportunity to sit, pray, talk about what and how we want to see change. The answer will cost us something, it will cost us to step outside what is comfortable if it costs others a loss in self-worth and human dignity. To embrace the reign of Christ in glory asks us to search out and nurture that God-like identity which is in everyone. It’s not rocket science, but we often let it become that.

Preparing for the in-breaking of God into human life by becoming human life, cuts through every barrier which we build to prohibit God from breaking into our lives. This is the gift of the Incarnation for the world at Christmas. God seeks to break into each of our lives and into the life of God’s world with redeeming mercy and love. Advent calls us to be get ready for God to break in.

Are we ready to open the door?