From Our Pastor: 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday
This weekend’s reading from Isaiah is the announcement of the coming of the Messiah. In fact, this is the reading from which Jesus proclaims in the synagogue the Gospel’s capture, where He sits down and teaches them with a new authority stating that this passage is fulfilled in your hearing. Jesus is the one to come to make all things new as Isaiah prophesies.
John has come to announce the coming of the Messiah. To prepare the way of the Lord as Isaiah spoke. He speaks of what the Christ will do, but clearly makes it known he is not the Christ, he is not the messiah. John prepares the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ, with his announcement of the baptism of repentance, but remember this baptism is not exactly the same as what Jesus commands us to do. Jesus fulfills and transforms ritual washing, baptism, into something that is effective and changing. It’s no longer ceremonial or just a cleansing to remind, but it is effective and soul changing, because it is no longer just water, but the Holy Spirit. Jesus has come to make all things new, including you and me. So, heed the warning of John the Baptist and prepare for the coming of the Lord. He is near, and he longs to make you new.
Please do not forget that next weekend you need to attend mass for the fourth Sunday in Advent and for Christmas. Yes, they are back-to-back, but do not put yourselves or your children in mortal sin for not fulfilling the Sunday obligation, as well as the Christmas obligation. We don’t just skip things in the faith because it’s hard, we see the challenge of faith that brings us holiness and grace. Make sure you prepare your heart and soul through confession. We have a penance service here at St. Francis for the whole city this weekend Sunday, December 17 at 2 p.m., and we have the normal opportunities for confession as well throughout the week. Prepare the way of the Lord in your souls for the birth of Christ.
Fr. Rafal and I are immensely grateful for the cards and gifts we have received. The cash you give helps more than you know for both of us, especially making it possible for him to travel home for vacation/seeing his family. We are extremely thankful. If you are traveling for Christmas, please be safe and know of my prayers.
Lastly, please remember if you need donations for end of the year giving, please know that they are greatly appreciated and can go towards your future pledges for the capital campaign that we are launching this spring.
- Rev. Steven Arisman