PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD—AND MAKE STRAIGHT HIS PATH!
CALL HIM EMMANUEL: GOD WITH US.
These are some of the gospel themes for the Sundays of Advent.
Advent is a time of cleaning the house of our mortal souls, tidying up our spiritual lives so that the Son of Justice may enter, and so that nothing might distract us from the obvious—“Jesus IS the reason for the season!”
As your pastor, I urge our faith community of St. Rita to take our Advent Themes to heart and mind. Let us not allow Christmas Eve to arrive by surprise. As families, observing Advent could just be the most rewarding stocking stuffer. Lighting the candles of an Advent wreath in the home of a senior living alone could be the assurance that Jesus continues to be light for the journey. The Christmas lights in our neighborhoods can be a reminder of Christ’s light that dispels darkness and gives joy—especially if we have also done something to bring joy to those who have no home to decorate! Decorating homes and the planning of parties can still be Advent awakening and awareness when the Christ child and the Holy Family are frequently mentioned as the reason why. The wrapping and giving of gifts can be done with a prayer of thanksgiving that each gift be a reminder of the greatest gift when “God so loved the world…”
Need it be said that our Country and our whole world need a well-spent Advent? I think not. And as an unworthy Knight of the Holy Sepulcher, as we turn our eyes towards Bethlehem, I would urge that we remember that today’s Bethlehem is divided by a wall. Let us remember to pray for all those who suffer on both sides of that wall and let us pray for courageous Christians who live in fear and danger there. We celebrate on Christmas the PRINCE OF PEACE AND GOD OUR JUSTICE. We must go to Him this Advent and pray along side Mary and Joseph for His offer of salvation and redemption in our times.
In this new liturgical year throughout the Universal Church, then, may the Lord fashion himself a people! May we find new courage and strength to keep all the commandments of the Lord and to live his beatitudes as we center our lives in celebrating and living the Most Holy Eucharist! Blessed Advent everyone!