From Our Pastor: 1st Sunday of Advent
WATCH! This weekend we begin the shortest advent season we possibly can have! We begin with a warning from the Lord Jesus to be watchful and alert! This warning calls us to examine how to be better ready for the coming of the Lord. This is what Advent means, coming or arrival, so we prepare for the coming of the Lord. Isaiah tells us to take this time to be made new. Take this Advent season to allow the Lord to shape and mold and form us into the greatest version of yourself. The last sentence is rich and beautiful...”Yet, O Lord, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the word of your hands.” Allow the Lord this Advent season to mold and shape you to be watchful, alert, and ready for the coming of Jesus. Now and for his coming at the end of time.
This week we celebrate the Feast day of St. Nicholas on Wednesday, December 6. Teach your kids the tradition of this wonderful feast day. Have them put out their shoe or shoes outside their door and wait for the gifts from St. Nicholas over night. Maybe some fruit, a little piece of candy, a small religious item, ie., a medal or rosary or crucifix. I have also heard of St. Nicholas taking the opportunity to include a small gift that is left to the child for them to donate to the poor or hungry. And St. Nicholas hopes to teach them the gift of being grateful for any good gift. Take this opportunity to teach them the story of St. Nicholas the Bishop Myra in the fourth century. Teach them his generosity to those much less fortunate with his gifts of the dowries he left through the window of the poor young girls in a family. This made it possible for them to be married and cared for for the rest of their lives. Which is why he is the patron saint of children and unmarried people, among MANY other things. Read his story to them. This story is just one of many. Nicholas was known for his piety, his fasting, and deep prayer. Most especially he is known for his fidelity to orthodox teaching, even being well known for punching or slapping the heretic, Arius, during the First Council of Nicaea. Arius denied the divinity of Christ and tried to teach that Jesus was not eternal but instead created before time (created before the rest of creation). He is also known for his astonishing miracles. He may be one of those most well known, well loved, and amazing wonder worker of miracles from the Lord by his intercession.
Lastly start planning ahead because of this short Advent season. The last weekend of Advent is December 23 and 24. You need to go to mass that weekend to fulfill your Sunday obligation, but then we get the excitement of going immediately to celebrate Christmas Eve that Sunday evening and Christmas just after. So maybe take the opportunity to come to 4:30 to break up the masses of Advent and Christmas, even if it isn’t your normal mass time. Or maybe go Sunday morning for Advent and Monday morning for Christmas to break up the masses, even if you aren’t used to going on Christmas Day. This back to back is a opportunity and challenge from the Lord to shake things up to reaffirm our deep commitment to what our faith is all about. Dedication, preparation and celebration of not the present and the things of Christmas, but instead the dedication, preparation and celebration of the gift of Christ in the incarnation. Take this challenge and use it as an opportunity to refocus on the gift of devoted faithfulness to Christ, especially when it is tough!
One last thing...come join us for Lessons and Carols with the QU Choirs and myself for the opportunity to be moved by the music, sing along with, and give praise and glory to God to begin our preparation for the coming of the Lord.