Bishop Ricken

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The Most Rev. David L. Ricken is the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Green Bay.

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Meeting Our Savior this Advent

By Bishop David Ricken | December 1, 2022

This past Sunday marks the beginning of the beautiful season of Advent, four weeks of anticipation for the coming of Jesus. We remember his birth, when God became man and we also anticipate and prepare ourselves for his Second Coming, when he will return to fully establish his Kingdom here on earth.

Living in the Northern Hemisphere, our experience of Advent is marked by some of the shortest and darkest days of the year, when the sun is out for less than 10 hours each day. The darkness of this time of year mirrors what the season of Advent means spiritually. Just as we wait for the days to get longer again, we wait for the Light of the World to arrive on Christmas.

In our world today, there is so much darkness and disruption. We are witnessing mass migrations of peoples due to war, violence and natural disaster, often made worse by corrupt or helpless governments. People are lost or led astray by the philosophies of the world, rooted in the belief that right or wrong is determined by each individual person. These philosophies only lead to anxiety, despair and social isolation.

Friends, we need a Savior! Thanks be to God, we have the Savior and we long for him more and more. Advent is a time to hear Jesus invite us back to him, as he does in the words of the Prophet Hosea: “Come back to me with all your heart. Don’t let fear keep us apart. Long have I waited for your coming home to me and living deeply our new life.”

Brothers and Sisters, Jesus loves you immensely and he paid the price of your redemption by shedding his blood on the cross and by rising from the dead. It is the powers of darkness that tell you that you are not loved by God because of something you have done. The Lord already knows what we have done: He forgives us, and he wants us to return to him to receive his merciful love.

We must repent of our sinfulness and beg his forgiveness so that our hearts can be more responsive to his love. Going to confession during this season is so important so that you can be a clean and clear vessel to love God in return and to share his love with others. Come back to him, come to the sacrament of reconciliation. Be given a new and clean slate through the merciful forgiveness of Our Lord.

For those of you who have not been to Mass in a long time and have the health to come to Mass, don’t miss the beautiful time of preparation during the Advent season. The liturgy is very simple and impactful as we remember the Lord’s humility to become one like us in everything but sin, a little baby who changed the trajectory of history of the entire world.

For those of you who are not coming, he misses you at the Sunday assembly. We miss you at Sunday Mass. Come back to him with all your heart. Do not be afraid. He is merciful and purifying love. He and we are waiting for you to come home.

May God bless you abundantly this Advent season!

Follow Bishop Ricken on Twitter, @BpDavidRicken.

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