Browsing Pastor's Notes

1st Sunday of Advent

The December Holiday season is upon us with all its rush & busy. The Gospel repeats the idea of “Watching”, but why? For ‘the time will come…like a man traveling abroad” (Mk 13:33). To me, travel is always a hurried and rushed activity. Whether it is trying to ‘make time’ on the highway or the bustle through an airport, travel always seems rather unsettling. There is the unnatural inertia-disruption of going from one place to another, the transition, the process, the movement. Being enfleshed-souls, for us, travel always takes place in both time and space. (As opposed to say the angels, which exist outside of time and are purely spiritual beings. Their ‘travel’ is timeless and instant.) But for us, it is an experience that unfolds, sometimes in an arduous way. We can be anxious (even though I warned against such a temptation weeks ago). We can be excited. We can be confused or even impartial. Travel is, in part, a process of change. In the face of change, we can often want to ‘just get it over with’ once we resign ourselves to its inevitability. We can be in a rush for it, busy to see it completed. Which brings us to Advent. Advent means ‘to come’ or ‘to arrive’, which is interesting as we are in the process of traveling to Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and His Second Coming. Are we doing so rushed and busy? Are we even heading toward Christ? Much of the rush and busy of these particular days are taken up with the glitz and glam of the secular “Holiday Season” with its lights, trees, parties, presents. None of which is necessarily contrary to the faith, but often are more a distraction, diversion, or detour from the travel we are meant to be on. Jesus was just a pilgrim, short upon the earth. We Catholic Christians are but the same. Pilgrims, passing through, traveling. But what is our destination? How are we experiencing this time, this space, this journey? Are these Advent days leading us to Jesus or away? Are we rightly unsettled by our sins? Are we out of sorts in our travel away from selfishness? Are we moving toward the “Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward Men” (Lk 2:14), proclaimed and experienced by the Angels? If not, maybe we need to turn from our current direction and travel by another Way!

Nilson and Deini Alvarez do all they can to create a loving environment for their young son, Mario, but there’s one gift they are too poor to provide — a sturdy home to protect him from storms and the threat of intruders. Only the Lord can answer that prayer. “We’ve been struggling for years and not been able to do all we need to do. I pray and trust that Our Lady will help,” Nilson said. Through prayer, they maintain joyful hearts as they endure the hardships of living in a flimsy home constructed of old wooden planks and palm branches. The dirt floor turns to mud as rain pours in, often making Mario ill.

Please consider this family’s daily hardships as you begin Advent, a time when the Church invites us to prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord. In our first reading on the First Sunday of Advent, the prophet Isaiah expresses his hope that God’s people will be ready when that day arrives. “Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways!”

Let us join with our fellow Catholics in Guatemala and prepare our hearts by doing right. Holy Family Parish is once again striving to build a new home for a family in need, such as the Alvarez by participation and contributions toward Cross Catholic Outreach – Guatemala Home Project. Donations can be dropped off in the offering at Mass by putting “Guatemala Home” in the check memo line or by contributing to the appeal on Faith Direct (the Holy Family e-giving site).

Congratulations to Mr & Mrs. Will & McKenna Roof married at Holy Family Saturday Dec 2!
McKenna is also in our RCIA program. Know of our prayer for you both.

+ Nothing Less than saints for the Holy Family of God. +

Holy Family, Traveling toward Bethlehem, Pray for us.

~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries


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