Second Sunday of Advent – December 10, 2017
Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem
and proclaim to her that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated; indeed she has received from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins. (Is 40:1-2)
“Do not let anything afflict you and be not afraid of illness or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother?
Are you not under my shadow and protection? Are you not in the crossing of my arms?
“(Words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego on 12/12/1531)
I have juxtaposed two quotes that reflect the same theme of God’s kindness and salvation on this Second Sunday of Advent. God spoke to Israel living in exile in Babylonia (modern day Iraq), offering a message of hope and consolation as He would predict their eventual return home. Peter, in the second reading, reminds his audience that God is patient with us, hoping that all should come to repentance. John the Baptist appears on the scene, preaching a message of repentance through baptism with water as St. Mark describes him as the one sent to prepare the Lord.
Tuesday December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the Philippines. You are probably all acquainted with the story of Mary’s apparitions to a humble Aztec weaver, Juan Diego from Dec. 9-12, 1531. She requested that Juan Diego go the bishop Fray Juan de Zumarraga and ask that a church be built on Tepeyac Hill in her honor. The bishop doubted Juan Diego’s message and asked for a miraculous sign. Two signs were given: Juan Diego’s uncle Juan Bernardino was miraculously cured and Castilian roses, not native to Mexico, were found on the barren hilltop. Mary helped arrange the roses in Juan Diego’s tilma (poncho). He went to see the bishop and let the roses fall on the ground. There on his tilma was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
According to reports 8 million natives were converted to Christianity in 7 years. I have had the privilege twice of visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and viewing the image of Mary. As I prayed in her temple, I could feel her maternal presence and watchful eye. Both the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist are reminders of our need to let God enter our lives and be a sign of hope to the world.
Please mark your calendars for our Advent Communal Penance Service on Saturday December 16 at 10:00 a.m. at Ss. Peter and Paul Parish. We have a beautiful opportunity to prepare for Christmas by being reconciled to our God and our neighbor. Please refer to the bulletin insert this weekend with the schedule of Masses for Dec. 23-25 which includes the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Wishing you the comforting presence of our God this Advent.
Fr. Mike Michalski
First Sunday of Advent – December 3, 2017
“O Lord, you are our father;
we are the clay and you the potter: we are all
the work of your hands.” (The Prophet Isaiah)
As we begin the time of Advent, I have been thinking of the clay pots in my backyard, now empty of the summer growth. I am not an expert gardener, but it seems that the clay pots with cracks seem to have plants that grow better. Maybe it is the drainage, or the air that can hit the roots, but it seems that growth comes in brokenness!
Maybe that is why the prophet uses the image for our relationship with God. Let’s face it—we are all a little cracked! (smile) But that is maybe so the light, air and nourishment of God can flow more easily in our lives when we are reminded that we really are not in control. Maybe the cracks in life come so that we learn to trust the potter more that great growth can happen, even when we don’t believe it.
So in Advent, claim brokenness! And be more patient with the brokenness of others. Let’s see where growth can come so that Christmas might bring great surprises for us all!
The Potter is at work! Trust!
Sincerely, with love,