This Sunday, December 8, is the date of the solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. However, the Second Sunday of Advent takes precedence over this solemn feast, so we are celebrating Advent as we continue our journey towards the celebrations of Christmas and await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, the Church does not wish this feast to be lost for this year, so its celebration is transferred to Monday, December 9 but there is no obligation to attend Mass on that day. However, in addition to our usual 6:30 and 9 AM Masses, we will celebrate Mass at 12:05 pm, for those who wish to come and celebrate this awesome feast of our Lady. Both the United States and our Archdiocese have our Lady under this title as Patroness.
This Advent weekend, we have beautiful and forthright readings. John the Baptist appears in Matthew’s Gospel. He calls to repentance and baptizes those who acknowledge their sins. He is quite harsh and direct on the religious leaders who come to him at the Jordan. He tells them to show signs of evidence that they are repenting.
The Baptist’s message reminds us that part and parcel of our human condition is the need to repent, to seek continuously conversion throughout our lifetime. We are good people, God made us good! We are His image and likeness. But we have been wounded by Original Sin and therefore are weak. We are in a battle with evil that goes on within us and around us. It is easy to see the struggle that goes on around us, but we need pay particular attention to the struggle that goes on within us. We have help ~ Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Mary.
Praised be Jesus Christ, that Isaiah’s prophecy (our first reading) is fulfilled. Jesus is the shoot from the stump of Jesse. In and through Him, we experience salvation and redemption. From Him, we receive grace, forgiveness, healing, instruction, and the fulfillment of our deepest yearnings.
During the busyness of these days, the Baptist reminds us of the most important and necessary preparations ~ the preparation of our hearts and souls ~ our ongoing need to turn away from sin and to receive the grace, peace and joy of Jesus Christ, which He offers us through His Sacraments.
To help all of us, we have additional times for Confession before Christmas. Next Sunday, December 15, after all the Sunday Masses we will hear Confessions in the Chapel. On Tuesday, December 17 at 7 pm in Church, we will have many additional Confessors to hear Confessions. And of course, we have our usual scheduled times on Wednesdays after the two morning Masses and on Saturday mornings and afternoons.
One final note, the priest Day of Sanctification last Monday was a welcome and helpful afternoon at the Seminary for the beginning of this Advent season. It was a time spent with our Lord in Eucharistic adoration, a keynote address and homily, and an inspiration in perseverance, hope and fraternal community.
God bless you, God love you,