In the midst of all the Black Friday activity and noise, the church starts the season of Advent. Happy liturgical New Year! Parousia is a Greek word meaning presence, and that embodies Advent Jesus is present to us here in the Eucharist each week. Parousia, He is among us and with us. We look at Advent as being a time for us to think, for our faith journey to really come alive. Not about all the shopping etc, but about divine training. Matthew Kelly wrote a book about the training of us as Catholics. He said if someone wants to run a marathon, they just don’t get up one day and run a marathon. Anybody who does anything worthwhile take s a lot of practice, desire, and work. Without training the expectations wouldn’t be very good. We need to be mindful and try to get away from the distractions, the things of this world. In Advent we are invited not to speed up, but we are invited to a time of quiet prayer and reflection and to be at peace with the church and with one another. When everything gets too secularized, we forget the real reason for the season. How do we get back to doing the right things right? We should do an examination of our lives to confirm and reaffirm our faith. If Jesus were to come today would we be ready? Will we be prepared? Will the Lord look at us and say well done my son or daughter? How do we do this? Through prayer, and almsgiving. Be loving and kind to others. Give the gifts of your time and talent. Go to reconciliation, be a light for others to see. Let us continue to be prepared, to be ready, to be awakened. That is what we have to do during Advent. The greatest gift every given to us from Jesus is the Eucharist. Remember He is still with us as we wait for Him to come in Glory at a time we don’t know but a time that is on God’s time.