Fr. Diego, who visited us two weeks ago from Guatemala, brought with him a shoulder bag with the words “Agradecimiento a Parróquia del San Pío 2018” (hearty thanks to the parish of St. Pius 2018) from the sector Viucalvitz of our sister parish, where a facility for religious education was built with our assistance. He also brought a handmade piece of material that we will use as an altar cover when we are celebrating the Mass of the Martyrs. I am pleased with our continued support of Santa María Nebaj and thank you for your generosity to them.
Hard to believe it is Advent already. Welcome to the beginning of a new Church year! This past year we have been reading from the Gospel of Mark. We start now the year of Luke.
What is Advent? Just for fun, I “googled” it and actually got a clear, concise, and exact definition: Advent is a season observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. The term is a version of the Latin word meaning "coming".
Two important aspects to notice: first, we are waiting AND PREPARING. We are not just waiting for Jesus’ coming (to remember His first coming and to experience His second coming) but we are also doing something. In the past I called it “active waiting.” We are living in such a way as to build up His Kingdom, both in celebrating Christmas and in moving forward in life.
And second, as already hinted, it isn’t just about Christmas, it is also about reminding us that Christ will come again to bring about the fullness of His Kingdom, and we have committed ourselves through baptism to live in such a way as to build up that Kingdom.
Our community is helping us to enter into Advent in two special ways:
First, we have Advent reflection resources for adults and children. An adult booklet (Watch for the Lord: Advent reflections from Pope Francis, Mother Teresa, and Henri Nouwen) and a children’s booklet (Advent Joy: activities for Advent) are available on the table in the vestibule of the church.
Second, an Advent Reflection Evening is being offered from 7 to 8 pm this Tuesday, December 4th. Join us for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a short reflection on the parable of the Good Samaritan and Advent, quiet time for reflection, and Benediction. All are invited (and invite family and friends to join you)!
The shortening of daylight, the starkness of bare trees, and the covering of everything with snow invite us to a time of quiet reflection, an “Advent” time. Let us take advantage of the resources the community is offering us, and let us support each other in prayer.