On this First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new liturgical year in the Church. It is a time of eager anticipation for the coming of Jesus Christ which we celebrate on Christmas Day. This is not just about celebrating a holiday with all the trimmings, parties, gifts, and a time of good cheer. This is about celebrating Jesus coming to us and dwelling among us. Jesus is with us all the time, but the world seems to be much more aware of His presence at this time of the year. We need to take advantage of that and try to direct our celebration by helping friends, family, strangers, co-workers, and those we do not see eye to eye with on various issues in our lives. Truly it is a time of evangelization, spreading the “Good News” of Jesus to others.
I hope that we can all make this the best Advent ever by using our time in the best possible way and not letting ourselves get swallowed up in the all the “craziness” that this time of year can bring into our lives. We can make it a time of prayer and reflection concerning the true meaning of Advent and preparing for the coming of Christ. As I did last year, I would highly recommend the web site of Dynamic Catholic to help you and your family make this Advent the best ever. Simply go to the web site dynamiccatholic.com/advent and sign up. You will receive helpful reflections and prayer ideas as well as practical things that can help you and your family rediscover Christmas. These daily emails will help you to slow down in the midst of all the busy things to do so that the Advent Season does not slip by without helping you to prepare to encounter Jesus as He comes into our world again and again.
Advent is a Holy Season for us to anticipate and prepare for the Birth of Jesus. It is very much like the Season of Lent during which we prepare to celebrate Easter. It is a time set aside to help us prepare spiritually for the Coming of Jesus. There are really three comings of Jesus, the first when He is born in Bethlehem and the coming of Christ at the end of time. However, there is the coming of Christ here and now and we experience this coming in our daily lives especially when we go to Mass and receive Holy Communion. We believe that Jesus comes down from heaven upon the Altar under the appearance of bread and wine, but still the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. It is important that we prepare ourselves for this coming too. We do this by making sure that we have gone to confession, especially if we are aware of serious sin. Preparing to receive Jesus in Holy Communion means that we are aware that He comes to us, and we are striving to become more like Him in the way we live our daily lives. As most people know we do have confessions every Saturday from 11AM to Noon. During the week before Christmas there will be extra times to go to confession. These times will be published in our Christmas envelope mailing. There will also be our Advent Communal Penance Service on Monday, December 12 at 7PM in the church. As usual there will be visiting priests for this service. Please make plans to receive the Sacrament of Penance as part of your preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.
As we are in the midst of our Eucharistic Revival, I thought it would be a good thing for us to learn more about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Today we will begin a yearlong series of Liturgy Lessons to be read by the Lector after the announcements each Sunday. For those of you who may remember, we did this about 20 years ago. I hope these lessons will be helpful and deepen our understanding of the Mass as the most important thing we do in this life. We will also make these available on our website so you can go back and review them. Lord, help us to understand this great gift you have given to us; the gift of yourself at every Mass.
Please support the parish and school this Tuesday as we participate in We Give Catholic to raise funds for the parish and the school. Please see the bulletin for more information. The donations received will help to update technology in the school. Technology, anywhere, is in constant need of updating, as I am sure you are all well aware of. Also, we need to do some upgrading on the lower level of the church since we have not really done much there for about 20 years. This would include the physical space as well as the audio/visual equipment needed for various events. Thank you for your continued generosity even in the midst of the inflation we are encountering at the present time. May God bless you for your sacrifices and generosity.
Please pray for Fr. Pat as he celebrates his birthday on Monday. May God bless him and grant him many years.