Today we start a new Church year with the first Sunday of Advent. It is also the “year of Mark,” in which we will hear from his Gospel during Ordinary Time.
We all know Advent is a time of preparation. But, for what should we be preparing?
Our culture tells us we are preparing to celebrate Christmas, in religious terms the birth of Christ, His first coming into the world. Our faith tells us that we are REMEMBERING that first coming while preparing to celebrate His second.
When will the second coming happen? In recent Gospels Jesus told us that no one knows, except His Father. He tells us to be prepared, but how should we do it? The answer is by living in such a way as to bring about the Kingdom of peace, justice, and equality NOW, today, in Wauwatosa or wherever we are.
Jesus told us He HAD established the Kingdom. It is here, now, it is growing among us. It is not a future event. The commitment of a baptized Christian is to live the values of that Kingdom in daily life, so that we are helping the Kingdom to grow.
When we pray “Thy Kingdom come” in the Our Father, we follow it with “Thy will be done.” In other words, we are not just wishing that the Kingdom come, but we are committing ourselves to make it happen. The Father’s will is that we relate to each other, and especially the most needy, as did Jesus. Then we are helping the Kingdom to arrive in its fullness.
I invite us to reflect this Advent on how we are doing at bringing the Kingdom alive in our daily lives. The Lord knows we will never be perfect, but the important thing is that we are growing.
Please note in your calendar two special Advent events that can help us in our struggle to grow. One is an Advent Reflection at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 1st. There will be a short presentation, quiet reflection time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and Benediction. The second is an opportunity to receive the Sacrament of
Reconciliation at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 15th, when there will be three priests available for private confessions. I invite you to take advantage of these opportunities to grow during this season of Advent. They will be conducted in a safe manner. God bless.
Happy Feast of Christ the King! We wish our neighboring parish a happy feast day. May Christ the King bless you in a special way.
Once again, we have an Advent/Christmas reflection book for adults and an Advent work book for children that are available outside the main door of the church in a box on a chair. If you don’t get them at Mass, drive by and pick up your copies.
Remember our Advent reflection at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 1st. Safety measures will be observed. There will be a short presentation on change and transformation, quiet reflection time, and Benediction. I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to enter prayerfully into the season of Advent.
Our Church year begins with the first Sunday of Advent and preparation to celebrate the birth of “the new born king” that the three wise men came to visit. Some king: wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger! The Church year ends this weekend with our celebration of Christ the King. But what kind of king? Our first reading from Ezekiel answers that, telling us that the Lord will be a shepherd for his people. In that short reading the Lord says “I” 11 times and “I myself” to emphasize it 3 times (I myself will look after and tend my sheep…I myself will pasture my sheep…I myself will give them rest…) This is not a king who lords it over others but rather one who cares deeply for them. All of Jesus’ life was a lived example of shepherding others, taking care of them, making them the center of His life.
This is a king whom we can emulate and our Gospel of the Last Judgment makes it clear we HAVE to emulate Him. Jesus gives clear criteria for being admitted into the Kingdom. It is not going to Mass, it is not observing rules, it is not belonging to a certain denomination. It is shepherding his people. It is using our material resources to feed and clothe those in need. It is sharing our time with those who are isolated for any reason. It is shepherding others as our circumstances allow. It can be easier to observe rules than to be inconvenienced by the needs of others. But Jesus makes it clear what is important.
I invite us to reflect on the past year. As I listen to the parable of the Last Judgment, am I more with the sheep or more with the goats? Have I improved this year? How can I do better?
et us resolve that, next year on this feast, we will be able to say we improved. And let us support each other with prayer and example. God bless.
Please mark your calendars for our Advent reflection at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 1st. Safety measures will be observed and registration is not required. There will be a short presentation on change and transformation, quiet reflection time, and Benediction. I invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to enter prayerfully into the season of Advent.
Our Gospel parable this weekend is very clear: Jesus is the Master and we are the servants who have been given five, two, or one talent (a talent was about 100 pounds of coins). Notice that it was not important how many talents each received; they just needed to do what they could with the amount received. Each of us has 24 hours in a day, everyone has “talents” in the sense of an ability or aptitude to do certain things, and we all have some material goods. How am I using the time, talent, and treasure that God has blessed me with? Do I tend to focus on myself or do I think of others? For example, what do I do with my free time? How much television do I watch as opposed to visiting or calling someone who is homebound? Or if I am able bodied, do I volunteer to cut the lawn for an elderly
neighbor? In terms of finances, do I spend my income mostly on myself or am I supporting my community and worthwhile causes?
We like to think that we don’t have much and we can’t make a difference, but even the servant with only one talent was expected to put it to work in a productive way. Our Gospel this coming weekend, the Last Judgment, reminds us what is important. When Jesus says to us, “when I was hungry…alone…sick…,” He will be judging how we have used the time, treasure, and talent given to us by God.
As we come to the end of another Church year, the days grow shorter, as does our time on earth. How am I doing on using all that the Lord has given me to build up the Kingdom? How can I do better? God bless.
Our 2021 Pledge Drive is in full swing. I ask you to be as generous as you can in supporting our community and its ministries. PACT: Pius Parishioners Always Come Through! Thank you.
About a month ago, our Gospel presented a man who was thrown out of a wedding celebration because he was not wearing a wedding garment, even though one was given to him at the door. Our Gospel this weekend has a similar message with the 5 foolish virgins, who did not have the oil needed to perform their function at the wedding. They had the means to get the oil, for they ran and got some, but they simply were not concerned enough to prepare for what they were supposed to do. In these last weeks of the Church year leading up to the Solemnity of Christ the King and its Gospel of the Last Judgment, we are being urged to prepare for our encounter with Christ at the end of our lives. Our first reading calls it “wisdom” and perhaps we can translate “wisdom” as being able to see things God’s way, not ours. For me, “God’s way” is summed up in the Beatitudes and the “Last Judgment.”
The “BE-attitudes,” presented to us at the beginning of Ordinary time, highlight the attitudes or approach to life that we need to have as disciples: poor in spirit, meek, merciful, etc. The Last Judgment,” presented to us at the end of Ordinary time, highlights the actions that will flow from proper attitudes: we will take care of others, especially the most needy. The Sundays in between show us how to do this, through Jesus’ words and example.
Reflection for the week: How prepared am I to meet Christ? What can I be doing better to live as a disciple who shows love of God through love of neighbor? How can I better use the time, treasure, and talent the Lord has given me?
Hopefully, our desire to be more prepared to meet the Lord does not come from fear, but rather a desire to “be the best that we can be!” Let us support each other both by prayer and example. God bless.