Although we are just under one month away from a new calendar year, the Church begins a new liturgical year today with the first Sunday of Advent. We have entered our preparation period for the commemoration of our Lord's nativity. It is well worth it if we recall the events of two millennia ago. The world was largely pagan, without the one true God. People, usually the ones in power, dictated the definition of god. The ones who believed in the true God were faithful Jews. They were in a period of waiting—waiting in patience for the promised Messiah. They had to endure oppression and other hardships. They were not respected as persons as they should have been. People had to live by the ethics concocted by the state and not by the gift of good moral teaching from God.
Our modern world is becoming sadly similar to that time of the birth of Christ. The ethics of the state dictate what is right and what is wrong. More and more freedoms are taken away though a plethora of new laws. Marriage, as we know it and as God has instituted it, is threatened. Individual rights to ownership are whittled away through unjust taxes, through eminent domain, and through exorbitant lawsuits. Because of political favors, we are at the mercy of special interest groups. Worst of all, the human person has become a commodity to be exploited. Only for the simple reason that a person is not born, he or she can be put to death through dismemberment. All this is the "ethics" of man.
God always triumphs. Even if our world becomes more corrupt and more vile, the holy will of God will be accomplished. The question is where will each of us stand: with Him or with an ethical system doomed to implode on itself?
God helps us and asks us to be a part of His work to sanctify the world. We can be like the faithful Jews of the Old Testament, praying, keeping the Commandments, living upright lives according to His will. The best of those models are Our Lady and St. Joseph. Just think about it: Mary's "yes" (her fiat) radically changed the world. God and man were united in the two natures of Jesus Christ. St. Joseph's perfect obedience prevented interference in God's plan of salvation. Let's rely on them. They are our champions; they are our intercessors.
Our witness will be a leaven for society. As we draw closer to the Christmas season, let us pray that Christ becomes more definitively the center of our lives. May others honestly see Him in us. We judge by His standards and not by the world's.