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November 27, 2022: First Sunday of Advent - Pastor’s Corner

As we begin the season of Advent, we hear the prophetic words of Isaiah in our first reading.  “‘Come, let us climb the LORD's mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.’ For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Since prophecy is not simply the telling of the future, but rather the communication of God’s word, Isaiah’s words are a promise from God himself. Although humanity is awash in violence, strife and bloodshed, God promises that he will bring peace, restoration, and healing.  The very instruments of destruction will be changed into tools of transformation. Weapons of hate will be reengineered to harvest the fruits of peace. This is the promise of Advent.  God is coming to restore his order. He is coming to root out violence and war.  He is coming as the Prince of Peace. 

For this Advent promise to make a difference for us, we need to be prepared.  In the Gospel, Jesus says: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.  Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” (Matthew 24:42-44) Christ is coming, but if we want our hearts to experience the healing peace and tranquility he brings, we have to prepare to receive Him.

I suggest three practical ways that we might open our hearts to receive the promise of Advent. First, pick up an Advent reflection booklet after Mass, or in the office.  This year, we are providing Advent mediations from the “little blue books.”  Amid the hustle and bustle of this busy time, spending five minutes daily in Advent prayers will do wonders for preparing ourselves for Christ.  Second, enter into the fullness of the season by attending one of our events at the parish.  For example, next Saturday December 3rd, we will have a morning of reflection at 10:30 am in order to be prepared to welcome the Lord come Christmas.  Third, be an “angel” and take an Advent “ornament” from our giving tree.  Many of us are blessed with ample material resources, and yet there is need around us.  This year at Thanksgiving, through your generosity, we were able to provide a delicious meal for almost 300 families. Most of these families have children and we are confident that our gift card angel ornaments will be able to provide gifts for those who would otherwise go without.  Whenever we give to those in need, we encounter the living presence of Jesus. May Jesus’ Advent find us ready to receive His promised Peace into our hearts!

~ Fr. Michael

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