Fr Marek Dziewiecki
The symbol of man is Joseph who was sold by his own brothers and the prodigal son who harmed himself.
Advent is the time of preparation to meet God who becomes man. The Incarnation of the Son of God is a unique sign of God's imagination of love. God literally leaves himself and becomes a man's relative so that each of us can see his love and can learn this love. God loved so much the world that he decided to come to us with his love although he knew that some would kill him.
God the Father did not send his Son to the earth so that the Son made good to him for our sins but that he assured us of the salvific love of the Father. The cross is so meaningful in the history of salvation not because it is a place of terrible suffering but because it is a place of special love. The cross of Christ, which casts a shadow over the crib of Bethlehem, is the sign that Love can love in every situation and can save every man.
In his Beloved Son, who took on human nature, God reminds us of his dreams concerning man. Each of us is someone who is extremely great since he can think and love. At the same time each of us is someone who lives under extreme threat. We are threatened from the outside, especially by the cynical or naive people. The cynics are those who want to make us mindless, hurt and enslaved so that they can become rich at our expense. Such people offer us what can destroy us, for example cigarettes, drugs, contraception or pornography. The symbol of the cynics' threat is the biblical Joseph who was sold into slavery by his own brothers.
However, we are not only threatened by cynics but also by naive people who have good will and try to love us but do not lay down the requirements that are necessary for our growth. Such a situation is most dangerous for children and young people because acceptance and tolerance, which are naively understood, lead to the similar crisis of young people like using aggression and violence against them. People who have been 'brought up' without any stress become even more egoistic, arrogant and cruel than those who have experienced suffering and violence.
We can protect ourselves more easily against the cynical and naive people than against our own weakness. That's why the greatest threat for man flows out from his inner part. A human being is someone who is threatened by his own self, his own naivet, ignorance and sinfulness. He is someone that can deceive himself to death (as alcoholics or drug addicts do) and can rob himself of love, freedom and holiness. This world encourages me to repeat the original sin, i.e. to do what is easier instead of what is more valuable. The domineering ideology and low culture propose: be yourself (egoists and criminals use this invitation scrupulously). But God proposes me to become greater than I am. Since I am someone that is great and at the same time being greatly threatened I need to meet the Saviour who is coming to me. The Son of God decides to live with me on the earth in order to protect me against all people and all things that are threats and which take me away from holiness.
Advent is the time to watch out so that God would not come in vain. To watch out in Advent means to learn to pray, think and love following the example of the Son of God in whom the Father revealed our own greatness and calling. To watch out means to become a guardian angel to one's self. To watch out means to courageously look at what I am doing with the treasure of my life and my calling to holiness. To watch out means to pray, which is walking with God in order to agree on common dreams and to talk to God about my conduct and myself more than I have the courage to talk to myself. To watch out means to read the Bible since it is the best 'anti-virus programme' for man. The Bible shows me the truth about my greatness and my weakness. The Good News is a vaccine for my mind and my heart. To watch out means not only to be nourished by the word but also by the Body of God-Man. This means to benefit from the gift of the Eucharist, from the gift of Advent Masses. To watch out means to care for clear conscience and to examine your conscience every day in a courageous way: do I resemble more Christ or Adam today? To watch out means to experience Advent retreats, which give a chance to remain silent, to pray and discover the truth that does not only set me from sin but also from ignorance and mindlessness.
To watch out in Advent means to face my inevitable death and to face Christ who will come to us at the end of time. To watch out means to ask the question that Christ will ask me: Do you love? Do you love more today than yesterday? The one that fears the perspectives of death and the question about love is someone who watches out too little, thinking of himself and his life. To watch out indeed - means to love truly!