December 8th is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the patronal feast of our country. I invite you to celebrate Mass with us at 7:00 pm on Tuesday or 8:00 am Wednesday, asking our Lord to heal the division and rancor that keep us from moving forward.
This coming weekend, we will celebrate the Anointing of the Sick at every Mass. At 7:00 pm on Monday, December 13th, we will have a Reconciliation Service with three priests available for individual confessions. Please take advantage of these sacraments, as part of your preparation to celebrate the birthday of Christ.
We have received word that all the wells from our 2021 Living Waters campaign have been finished. I am sure more information will come from Sue Haertel, SDS, who is helping to organize this trip. Thank you to all who made this possible for our sisters and brothers in Africa.
Our readings this weekend mark a pivotal switch from an apocalyptic focus (on the final coming of Christ) to the beginning of the events and people leading up to the first coming of Jesus. Luke lists a number of historical figures to identify the exact time that the call came to John the Baptist to begin “preparing the way of the Lord.” John’s message quotes our first reading from the prophet Baruch: A voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” John will prepare the way of the Lord, as we are to do through our words and actions.
How can we “prepare the way of the Lord” in a special way these last three weeks before we celebrate His birthday? One way is to look at what is happening in our culture: we are in full swing for the Christmas shopping spree. Ads are all over the place and many are making lists of people for whom they want to buy gifts.
Is Jesus on our list? If he is a special friend of mine, and if we are celebrating HIS birthday, shouldn’t he get a gift? Shouldn’t he be on the top of the list?
What could I get for Him? He doesn’t need any “thing.” The end of war and violence would be a great gift, but it is out of my price range. But I could give Him the gift of repairing a broken relationship or being more patient with a difficult person. The end of world hunger and a just distribution of resources also would be a great gift, but, once again, out of my control.
However, I CAN support food pantries and share some of what I have with those in need. The elimination of prejudice and
discrimination would be great, but I can’t eliminate it in the world. But I can identify a prejudice that I have and work to eliminate it, as a wonderful Christmas gift to the Lord.
We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can do our little part. And these little efforts are priceless in “preparing the way of the Lord” in our world today. What Christmas gift will you have ready for the Christ child on December 25th? He will be so appreciative, as will those affected by your goodness. God bless.
Church sign of the week: People who rely most on God rely least on themselves.