Today, the Church begins a new liturgical season. This season, and this day, not only dignifies the beginning of a new Church year, it also reawakens the nearness of God’s loving presence dwelling among us in the Word-made-flesh. It announces the imminent coming and manifestation of the eternal Son, wrapped gloriously in the tattered, flagellated robes of our humanity.
He comes to us as the divine warmth that melts the frigid lovelessness of sin and death. He comes as the match that reignites, with us, the delight of the Father. He is both captain and vessel, by which we are rescued from the ocean of godlessness, and transported toward the harbor of eternal safety and security. It is he, the Son of Man, who begs us to be awake and alert to his coming. Because we, who have been baptized into Christ, are subject to a tepidity of spirit in that we live among many who have never truly encountered Christ—neither knowing him, nor walking in his way we. All too often, we assimilate the attitudes of those around us, making them our own. We begin to believe that the numbness, accompanying the cold and harsh elements of society, is the true warmth that we are forsaking. We grow tired of trying to protect the flame of grace burning within our souls. We thrash about, becoming despondent in the hope of finding lasting peace and rest. Salvation, therefore, must be something attainable at little cost to us. Such an attitude points to a hidden crisis of faith growing in our midst.