December 16, 2018 – Third Sunday of Advent
Dear Friends in Christ,
Rejoice, y’all! In the closing lines of his Letter to the Philippians, Saint Paul writes:
“Rejoice (Gaudete) in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near” (Phil 4:5-6). The Third Sunday of Advent that we celebrate this weekend is sometimes known as “Gaudete Sunday”, which takes its name from the Scripture verse above. Rejoice! Paul is writing to the whole Christian community in Philippi, not just an individual, and so his command to rejoice is written in the 2nd person plural: “rejoice, y’all!”. In reflecting on this, I couldn’t help but be grateful for this Christian community that is the Family of Four Parishes. Thanks for being the wonderful people that you are and know that so many of my daily joys these past few months have come from my being a part of this community.
In these last days of Advent, in which many of us will put up manger scenes and make final preparations for Christmas, I share with you these words from Pope Benedict XVI: “This, dear friends, is what true joy consists in: it is feeling that our personal and community existence has been visited and filled by a great mystery, the mystery of God’s love. In order to rejoice we do not need things alone, but love and truth: we need a close God who warms our hearts and responds to our deepest expectations. This God is manifested in Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Therefore that ‘Baby Jesus’ which we place in a stable or a grotto is the center of all things, the heart of the world” (Angelus, Dec 13, 2009).
Rejoice, y’all! And thanks, y’all!
With love and prayers,
December 9, 2018 – Second Sunday of Advent
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.”
(Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude. December 10 is the 50th Anniversary of the death of this great spiritual master.)
As we continue the Advent journey, we are given help this Sunday by three figures in Scripture, Baruch the prophet, Paul the apostle, and John the Baptist, in addition to Thomas Merton, to help us to navigate a way of being that leads to God and deeper personal happiness and holiness.
It is the beckon call to move past our egos, to “get over ourselves.” It is the beckon call to absolutely trust in God alone! Despite our persistent desire to be in control, God knows what is best, and like Christ, we are to surrender to a plan which is rooted in the heart of a God who creates, redeems, sustains, in ways we could not possibly imagine or work out.
So this Advent we trust, get over ourselves, and pray to not get too much in the way of the Love whose name is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
Sincerely with love,
December 2, 2018 – First Sunday of Advent
Happy First Sunday of Advent! The word “Advent” itself speaks beautifully to what we celebrate in this season. “Advent” is formed by two Latin words: the preposition “ad”, meaning to/towards, and the verb “venire”, meaning to come. In other words, in this season we prepare our hearts “to/towards” the “coming” (of Jesus at Christmas, but also the second coming).
I invite you to consider the following opportunities in our parishes to prepare your hearts for the coming of our Lord at Christmas:
– Make a Confession: a Communal Reconciliation Service with opportunities for individual confessions will be held on Saturday December 15th at 10 AM at Saints Peter and Paul.
– Advent Giving Tree: tags are available on the trees in Church to purchase items for families in need. Please kindly return all items the weekend of December 15/16, and thanks very much in advance for your generosity!
– Serve the poor and homeless: particularly with the cold weather, a gift of time or money means so much at this time of the year.
Finally, enclosed in today’s bulletin is a summary of the common themes from our listening sessions addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis. A copy of this summary was mailed to Archbishop Listecki this week. Many thanks to all who shared! The parish staff, Fr Tim, and I will be discussing next steps that we as a parish will be offering, as we search for healing and work to ensure that these crimes never happen again.
Love, prayers, and thanks for all that you are and do!