Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, Happy New Year! That’s right — for us Christians, the First Sunday of Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year. As Christians, we are called to live in cyclical, not linear time. That being, we celebrate the truth,.because of the dying and rising of Jesus Christ, life is eternal. We move from springtime to summer; from autumn to winter; from winter into a new
springtime. Nature reminds us of the great paradox of our Christian Faith: Death begins with life and life begins with death!
Our parish theme for the Advent Season is “Welcome the Word.” It is the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ that we welcome more fully into our lives at Christmas. The Church gives us these days of Advent to deepen our relationship with the Christ. To enter into a more intimate relationship with the One, who is the Way, and the Truth, and the Life!
You will notice in the worship space an empty crib. This represents each one of us. Our lives are empty without Christ being a part of them . This serves as an invitation to each one of us to work this Advent season on how we can welcome Christ more fully into our lives. It is a reminder that Christmas is all about what God has done for us, realizing that without Christ our lives are empty and meaningless.
What are some of the ways we can “Welcome the Word” this Advent Season? First, by spending more time in prayer. To find a quiet space, to sit still, and to thank God for all that he is doing in your life. Another way is to spend time reading and reflecting on the Word of God. Choose one of the Gospels and commit to reading one chapter per day and ask the Holy Spirit to inspire you as to how it relates to your life.
If possible, participate in daily Mass. Meet in the Scripture readings the various persons God chose to participate in the plan of salvation. The Advent readings are rich with images that we can reflect on in preparation for Christmas. Meet your Lord face to face in Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesdays from 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM in the St. Joseph Chapel. To be in the presence of the Lord is powerful.
Families can gather around the Advent wreath at home and pray together. “Welcome the Word” by feeding the hungry Christ with donations to a food pantry. Donations of toys to various organizations whose mission it is to brighten up a child’s Christmas is yet another way.
There are plenty of ways we can use this season to “Welcome the Word.” May all of us use this Advent Season wisely so as to have a powerful encounter with the Word made Flesh on Christmas Day.
— Fr. Dennis, December 2, 2018