Happy First Sunday of Advent! Which in Church world means ~ happy new year as this weekend our liturgical year begins anew and will unfold until next Fall. I pray that all of you had a blessed Thanksgiving Day with all the trimmings. If you ventured out for Black Friday, I trust that you all made it back unscathed with some real bargains. Of course, it seems that internet shopping is rapidly gaining the upper edge among shoppers in general. There is something nice about placing your order from home and having the package arrive at your door.
The holiday rush is upon us and for us priests that also includes helping many neighboring parishes and schools with Christmas Confessions. It has already begun. Our priests are truly thoughtful and kind in helping one another to hear confessions both now and during Lent. It is a truly humbling and privileged opportunity to minister this Sacrament of Mercy, Forgiveness and Healing. Our God is so loving and caring in giving us such a wonderful and powerful opportunity to access His Throne of Grace. Be sure that your to-do list includes Confession before the great feast of Christmas. In addition to the usual opportunities each week, we will have many additional Confessors available on Tuesday, December 17 at 7 pm in Church.
Advent is all about expectant waiting. Jesus has already come in the flesh; He will come at the end of time in glory. We are in between the two. Of course, in this in between time, we are blessed in that Jesus comes to us in His Sacraments. He reveals Himself at Holy Mass, in personal prayer time, Scripture, acts of sacrificial love.
So, this is not a time of passivity, of listless waiting. It is a time pregnant with confident joy and hope as we give of ourselves to our God, to His ways, to His will. We remain vigilant, actively drawing closer to salvation by “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our efforts to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” leads us into the embrace of our loving Savior and participation in His victory over sin and death. May our Advent prayers and efforts strengthen us in every respect, not only for the great joy of Christmas but for Jesus’ coming again in glory.