The Fourth and Final week of Advent is upon us. Our last week to prayerfully, humbly, lovingly prepare for the Coming of Christ. School is out. Last minute preparations for gifts, decorations, parties are underway, but sometime this week before Christmas Eve, sit down and slowly read the Scriptures – maybe as a family – of the birth of our Lord (Luke 2:1-21). It can set a tone deeper than Holiday “favorites” on the radio or Netflix. The Word of God can speak to your heart of the coming of the Word of God in the Flesh to be with you, Emmanuel. The more we know the story, the more we will now the Author. The more we know the Author, the more we will live the Story. He will write upon our hearts, in our lives, through our loves. He desires for you to share intimately, personally, and tangibly in His Holy Mission of life and love.
Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
~ Psalm 80:4
News Flash! Christmas this year falls on a Saturday; and yes, you still need to go Mass on Sunday to celebrate our Parish Feast Day – Feast of the Holy Family. Christmas is one of the 5 Holy Days of Obligation in the Church Calendar (in the USA) in addition to every Sunday. (Can you name the other Four?) This is due to the supreme importance of the Birth of our Savior. Really, “Mass” is literally in the name of “Christmas”. Yes, it’s a conjunction for “Christ’s Mass”. And yes, as with any Holy Day, all persons who are physically capable are expected to attend Mass in-person. Even some of our less fervent Catholic sisters and brothers attend Mass on Christmas. So, I suspect making the case to attend Mass on Dec 24th or 25th is not an issue. But then, why must I come back on Sunday Dec. 26? We’ll, if Christ’s coming was important, then His Resurrection is even more so! His suffering, death, and resurrection are the very core of His Saving Mission. And Sunday – every Sunday of the year – yes, all 52 of them – are the Lord’s Day – the day we remember, recall, re-celebrate, re-present Christ’s Resurrection in Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. So, if gathering to remember and rejoice in Jesus’ birth is worth coming to Mass for on a Friday night, then getting up to come remember and rejoice in Jesus’ Resurrection on a Sunday morning seems even more so. One without the other, wouldn’t have made much difference for our salvation, our world, our lives. But one with the other gives us the joy, the peace, the love of new life in Christ. Please plan to attend both a Mass for Christmas and a Sunday Mass for the Feast of the Holy Family.
Note: Holy Family has cancelled its standard 5p Mass on Dec 25. We will rejoice in our parish namesake Feast on Sunday Dec 26 at the 8a & 10:30a Masses. We’ve also cancelled our 6p Mass for Sunday Dec 26. Please plan to attend both Christmas and the Feast of the Holy Family. [Holy Days of Obligation Answer: Mary the Mother of God (Jan 1), Assumption of Mary (Aug 15), All Saints (Nov 1), Immaculate Conception of Mary (Dec 8), Christmas (Dec 25). (Easter is always a Sunday and so already always expected!!!)]
We got a slow start this year on contributions to the “Good Homes for Guatemala” through Cross Catholic International. There is still time to assist us to make our $6000 goal to fund a new safe, secure, and stormproof home for a family living the poverty of Holy Family in Guatemala. This is a great way for our local Catholic parishioners to contribute to the well-being of the greater worldwide Catholic parishioners. We may not see their faces nor share their blood, but we are sisters and brothers by water and the Holy Spirit of Baptism. By cooperating with Cross Catholic, we will support them and sustain them with a warm fitting shelter. Donate on the Holy Family Faith Direct webpage or by check with “Guatemala” in the memo line. Thank you for your generous sacrifice and offering.
Mary and Joseph of the Holy Family, Prayerfully Waiting, Pray for us.
~ Fr Jeremy M. Gries