Happy New Year, People of God!
As we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, it marks the beginning of the new liturgical Church year. It is a time of renewal and preparing ourselves to welcome the Lord. At the beginning of the Advent Season, our readings emphasize the Return of Jesus and meeting Him at the end of time. As we get closer to Christmas, the readings begin to emphasize the birth of Jesus and the story of our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph. It is a time of preparation and renewal. As Catholics we have whole seasons to prepare us to celebrate our greatest Holy Days. In Advent we prepare to meet the Lord at Christmas and His return. During Lent we prepare to walk with Jesus through His suffering and spend the whole Easter Season rejoicing in His Resurrection. It is our tradition to spend weeks in preparation of our most solemn feasts, and then to spend days or weeks in celebration of what the Lord has done for us.
So how do we prepare during Advent? Like Lent, we emphasize prayer and works of charity in hopes that Jesus will find us doing His will when He returns. In Catholic tradition we use Advent wreaths, nativity scenes, and giving trees to help us to fill our hearts will love for God and our neighbors. It is a time of anticipation and joy as we look forward to celebrating the great mystery of the Incarnation. We hear the words of the prophets proclaimed that promise salvation; while we rejoice in the salvation that we have received from the Son of God born as one of us. Advent should truly be a time of renewal and joyful anticipation.
Our parish leadership team has asked me to offer a couple of talks on Advent in these next few weeks. On Saturday December 3rd at 9:30am, there will be a light meal in the SJV community room followed by a reflection on the Return of Jesus given by me. Also, on Saturday December 17th at 9:30am, there will also be a light meal at Saint Mary’s Parish Hall followed by a talk on our Blessed Mother, Mary, also given by me. These will be an opportunity for some fellowship and reflection on some of the themes of Advent. It is a small way that we can clear our minds of the distractions and give the Holy Season of Advent greater attention. Please continue to check the bulletin for opportunities for fellowship and service.
Pray for your priests, as we pray for you, to be ready to greet the Lord at Christmas and always.