Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I greet you in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ on this, the 1st Sunday of Advent. Today not only marks the beginning of a preparatory season for Christmas but also the beginning of a new liturgical year; Cycle B of the Sunday readings and Year II of the Daily Mass readings.
In the Christian life whenever we prepare for something we are always encouraged to be watchful and alert so that whatever doesn’t find us unprepared like a thief in the night. “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come,” says the Lord.
Advent as a time of waiting and preparation reminds us that our whole lives should be a time of waiting and preparation. If we go through Advent without reflecting on what we are waiting and preparing for, it simply becomes just like any other time or event in our daily lives. We find ourselves simply going through the motions of the liturgical calendar. We should strive to become “Advent People;” people who live our lives in anticipation of the day when we shall become one with Jesus Christ who became human like us in all things but sin.
A couple weeks ago I received a free book, Joy to the World by Scott Hahn, in the mail and only a few pages into it, I decided that this was one book I would love all of you to read. Dr. Hahn does a great job going through all the key players in the Nativity Story giving readers a deeper appreciation of God’s plan of salvation. This book has me excited going into the Advent season and can’t wait to read both the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew and his nativity story in Luke on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day respectively. I have read both these gospels a number of times but after reading Joy to the World I think it will be like reading them for the first time!
I went ahead and purchased the book for you and I hope you will read it as part of your Advent preparation for Christmas. From Mary and Joseph to the Magi and shepherds, the words “joy to the world” will take on a whole different meaning for you after you read this book. And finally I hope you will also take advantage of the sacrament of reconciliation which will also be offered on Fridays (except for December 8) from 5:00PM to 6:00PM at St. Columban. Going to confession, as always, remains the best and most popular practice among Catholics in preparation for any big celebrations of the Church. I wish you all a blessed week and please stay warm and dry and don’t forget to take your vitamin C.
Pax et Bonum,