SÃO PAULO, Brazil, DEC. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The lessons of Advent should not conclude with Christmas, but must be taken up for the whole of one’s life, says the archbishop of São Paulo.
Cardinal Odilo Scherer made this suggestion in an Advent reflection for the archdiocesan paper.
He noted how already on the First Sunday of Advent, St. Paul reminds us that “the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Because of this, we must throw away the works of darkness and put on the arms of light.”
And, the cardinal said, “Christ is the perfect image of the new man that we are called to be, following his example.”
The Brazilian prelate cautioned against passing the whole of life distracted, “without being concerned about a thing and thinking only of enjoying every joy that life is able to furnish us.”
“From this derives the appeal to vigilance, as an attentive attitude to not choose mistaken roads in life, to not stumble and fall; or again to encourage us to walk, not to be discouraged, to produce fruits of good works during life, without tiring,” he said.
In this context, Cardinal Scherer reminded that the Advent liturgy speaks also of God’s judgment: “The Son of God, one day, will come as Judge and Lord of History, clothed in power and glory, and all of us will have to render an account of our lives.”
“However, we must not misunderstand this fact,” he said. “Advent is not a period of terror; on the contrary, it is characterized by joyful hope and the certainty of the goodness and mercy of God.”
In this sense, the cardinal said, Advent is not just a passing period. Instead, it is “a proposal to be lived during the whole of one’s life.”
“It speaks of the great mysteries of existence and casts a beam of light and hope on life,” he reflected.
The prelate added: “We don’t exist accidentally without having a direction. If for some philosophers human life is absurd, because it is full of impossible dreams, we understand that it isn’t like this, but we are not the ultimate answer to our dreams: It is God who enters our history and walks with us, showing us the right way.”
“We live in a continuous state of Advent,” concluded Cardinal Scherer, “while awaiting the new heavens and the new earth that God is preparing for all those who love him.”