Happy Advent and Blessed New (liturgical) Year! We light the first candle on our Wreathe. With Advent, not only do we begin our spiritual preparation for Christmas, we begin another new year in the Church. Just as the years of our calendar are numbered from the birth of Christ, our liturgical year starts afresh as we prepare and anticipate the coming of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. I challenge you to really take this new beginning to heart. This can be a great time to renew your walk with Jesus and to be invigorated for the Mission of the Lord. John the Baptist who we hear about in the readings during this season, is such a great witness and example. His radical living, his bold preaching, his singular purpose to “Prepare the way of the Lord”. Now can be a great time to renew your faithfulness. It can be a great time to await the coming of the very center of our lives – Jesus the Christ. Now is the time to join with Mary to allow Jesus to live within us. Now is a time to come alongside Joseph to protect this great Treasure given unto the world.
This spiritual renewal can be especially important as we face a forgetful culture that seems to miss the point of Christmas. It is not about year-end sales numbers for corporations or selfish buying, getting, or obtaining. Much of the world will spend itself (physically and financially) in the weeks leading up to Christmas such that when the wonderful season of Christmas actually arrives (starting on Dec 25 until the Baptism of the Lord on January 9), they are too depleted to celebrate or bother. The Christmas cheer can vanish when at last it should finally arrive. Rather, we Christians are challenged to be countercultural.
One easy way to carry-out the Mission of Christ is to witness to the true purpose of Christmas and with it, the true meaning of Advent. The world needs the truthful message of waiting, of stillness, of quiet, of measured anticipation as much and maybe more than the message of the receiving a gift – even when the gift is Jesus the Christ. There is a desperate need for patience, for serenity, for allowing things to unfold in their proper time, rather than on our schedule and under our control. There is grace and blessing in learning delay gratification, in learning active receptivity, in learning serenity resting in the arms of God.
Which is why I’m so excited about our 40 Hours with Mary waiting for Jesus this Friday Dec 3 starting with Mass @ 2p and continue until the 8a Mass on Sunday Dec 5. I am certain God will be pouring out abundant Advent Graces of Peace & Joy upon the parish as we allow His calming presence to find a place in our lives. During the Forty Hours, we will be having some communal prayer opportunities as well. They might better suit your spirituality. Communal Liturgy of the Hours Prayer (worship aides provided, will not take the full hour)
Friday Dec 3: Evening Prayer @ 6p followed by Advent Musical Reflection
Confessions from 7-8p
Night Prayer @ 9p
Saturday Dec 4: Morning Prayer @ 7:30a; Confessions 8:30a-11a & 4-4:45p.
Evening Prayer @ 4:30p, Night Prayer @ 9p
Sunday 12/5: Morning Prayer @ 7:30a
“Good Homes for Guatemala” through Cross Catholic International. in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, Guatemala. In Guatemala, one in four people earn less than $3.20 per day, and nearly 60% of families fall below the poverty line (Sources: CIA World Factbook, The World Bank). Heartbreakingly, in the Diocese of Santa Rosa de Lima, the homes children grow up in often perpetuate poverty. They live in broken-down shacks cobbled together with sticks, scrap metal and bits of plastic. Whenever it rains, the floors turn to mud and their beds are soaked. Unsanitary conditions lead to frequent illnesses, making it hard for children to go to school and for parents to work at full capacity. So they stay sick, exhausted and stuck in the cycle of poverty.
Families in Guatemala are barely hanging on — but our Holy Family can restore hope for one family. By teaming up with Cross Catholic Outreach, we can provide a family in need with a safe, stormproof home that will transform their lives for generations to come. Donate on the Holy Family Faith Direct page or by check with “Guatemala” in the memo line. Thank you for helping those in need.
Mary and Joseph of the Holy Family, Prayerfully Waiting, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries