By Father Robert Baron
Advent Day 1 - Our Tainted Offering
We all know that Lent is a penitential season, a time when Christians get in touch with their sins. But Advent has a penitential dimension, too. It is the season in which we prepare for the coming of the Savior, and we don't need a Savior unless we're deeply convinced there is something to be saved from.
Our first reading at Mass today, from the end of the book of the prophet Isaiah, affirms this with a whole series of images describing our sinful condition.
For example, we hear this wonderful and terrible line: "All our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind."
When we have become deeply aware of our sin, we know that we can cling to nothing in ourselves, that everything we offer is, to some degree, tainted and impure. We can't show our cultural, professional, and personal accomplishments to God as though they are enough to save us.
But the moment we realize that fact, we move into the Advent spirit, desperately craving a Savior. We become ready for the last image from today's reading: "Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands."
Today, let us prepare ourselves for the potter to come.