Emmanuel—God With Us
STAY AWAKE! 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…”
As we know, our current Holy Father chose the name Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi, who is the saint credited with starting the tradition of displaying the Nativity Scene, (also referred to as a crèche or “manger scene”). Like St Francis before him (way before him in 1223), Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of our living each day, The Incarnation—The Word Made Flesh dwelling among us. So this Advent, let us especially remember that Our Holy Father has inaugurated a special, year-long Synod on the Family and, as we light each Advent candle remember to add a prayer that the Holy Spirit will guide the synod process that wants to proclaim The Word Made Flesh in the life of every family—the family of humankind, the family of the Universal Church, the family of The Archdiocese of Our Lady of the Angels, the family of our St. Rita Parish, and our own personal families. May this holy synod of the Church strengthen our families so as to bear Christ to the world—incarnation—in our own time and in our own generations.
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!