First Sunday of Advent

November 29, 2020

Today we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent. Happy New Year! The First Sunday of our preparation journey is kind of a bridge from the last few weeks of the previous Church year. Our theme comes from today’s Gospel. Jesus says, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” Remembering that Advent is about three comings of Christ; in history, in mystery, and in glory, we focus on the latter this weekend. We are called to be prepared for the Lord’s coming in glory. Should any of us be afraid of His coming? Good question. In today’s second reading St. Paul says, “He (God), will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” A good question to ask is, “If Jesus came today would I be ready?” Most of us would probably say No; there’s some changes we might like to make in our lives. Each year the season of Advent can help us begin to make those changes. As we begin a new Church year, maybe we can make some resolutions this Sunday. I would like to suggest three. They come from a prayer by the 13th Century Bishop, St. Richard of Chicester, “Day by day, dear Lord of Thee three things I pray: to see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day.” Yes, if the new Church year begins with these three resolves, then each of us will progress in being better disciples of Jesus as we see more clearly His truth and His love, love more dearly as we grow in understanding that the fundamental command of the Lord is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and follow more dearly in the footsteps of our Savior wherever He leads us this year. Yes, if we do these three, we will have a wonderful new year.

This weekend we see some of the familiar signs of the season that help us to enter the spirit of Advent. The purple banners on either side of the sanctuary arch remind us that a new season of the Church year has begun. The traditional Advent wreath which we bless this Sunday reminds us of the four weeks that we will journey preparing each week for Christ’s coming. Three of these weeks are marked by purple candles and one, for the third week of the journey mingles the joy of Christmas (white) with the purple, making “rose.” Also, as most parishes do, near St. Joseph’s altar we have our annual “Giving Tree”. We remember those less fortunate served by our parish during this time in order to spread the joy of the season. I encourage you to please take an ornament (or 2), and share your blessings. Let’s all help make Christmas brighter for others. This weekend we begin to sing familiar melodies that remind us of the season; not Christmas melodies, but familiar Advent melodies that prepare our hearts to welcome Emmanuel. I like Advent! I hope this year it will be one you like too.

Finally today, as we make our New Church resolutions I share with all of you the following news that is causing me to make some tough changes. You may have noticed that since Covid began I have lost a sizeable amount of weight. At first I was pretty happy to be shedding these pounds, but it continued over the summer months and I ended up losing a total of 51 lbs. Over the past several weeks I have undergone several tests and I was recently diagnosed with Type II diabetes. “Say it ain’t so!” It is So! That means I now have to watch and manage my blood sugar and perhaps make some better eating choices. That means….I will have to drastically limit my chocolate intake. That’s going to be a big challenge. I would greatly appreciate your help this Christmas. Please, NO chocolate or candy for your aging pastor. All my sacrifices will be offered up for my sins up to Kindergarten.

God Bless! Happy Advent!

Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys.

Fr. Pete