We Need a Saviour
One of the great things about Advent is that it reminds us of our need of a Saviour – but a Saviour from what? Today’s readings remind us we are sinners, but that God is coming to do something about it. He is coming to save us from sin. This is the Good News! Throughout the Old Testament, God promised through the great prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Malachi, not just a Messiah, but a Saviour who would come to make of Himself a perfect and eternal sacrifice, so as to free us forever from the power of sin and death. And this Messiah would not just be an ordinary human being – He would be the God Man – God Himself clothed in our human flesh. Hence St John the Baptist points out Jesus as the promised One saying, “I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of His sandal.” He is the Saviour, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
So if He is the Saviour, to be saved we must admit our sinfulness and our fallen state. Our fallen human nature means we suffer from things like pride, lust, envy, greed, laziness and so on. We can be unforgiving, mean and petty, we fail to repent, and so sin can destroy us. When we realise this, Christmas, the birth of the Saviour, takes on a new and wonderful meaning. As the Angel told the shepherds on that first Christmas night, “Behold I bring you tidings of great joy: for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”
So a good Advent means acknowledging our need of a Saviour so as we can have a really joyful Christmas. And that joy comes from knowing that God loves us so much, that He became man, suffered the most terrible death on the cross and rose again from the dead, so as YOU could enter Paradise which had been lost due to Original Sin. This is why He is our Saviour. The fruits of His saving death and resurrection are transmitted to us through the sacraments. We should never deny the reality of sin, because if we do we deny the need of a Saviour. If we deny the need of a Saviour and the need for salvation, then Christmas and the cross have no meaning. So if it is a long time since you made use of the sacrament of Penance, why not ask God to help you do so this Advent?
Fr. Paul Gillham IC