The Fourth Sunday of Advent is in a unique position on the Liturgical Calendar this year. It lasts less than a day. By late afternoon or early Sunday evening, the Church will celebrate the Vigil of the Nativity of the Lord. Later, Mass During the Night will take place here at 7:00 PM. On Christmas Day, at 9:30 AM, we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord with the Scripture Readings for Mass During the Day. For pastors, pastoral administrators, priest presiders, musicians, and liturgical ministers, these days will be a kind of liturgical marathon. For the remainder of us, it will mean planning carefully to celebrate both Advent and Christmas by attending more than one Mass this weekend. Please join us for whichever Masses suit you and your family best. Your presence does make a difference in our festive celebration of the Eucharist.
Mary is the key figure in the Gospel passage from Luke for this Fourth Sunday of Advent. We hear the familiar story of the Angel Gabriel announcing to her that she will conceive and bear a Son that she is to name Jesus who will be called the Son of the Most High. Can you imagine her mixed emotions of amazement, confusion, fear, and total trust in God? At the end of her conversation with the angel, Mary simply says “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Because of her yes, God worked marvelous things through her. She bore to the world the Son of God who changed our lives forever. Like Mary, we, too, are asked to bring the Son of God into our world which longs for wholeness, healing, hope, inspiration, a spiritual presence and direction. Our world needs to know and experience the Savior among us. Jesus came for all people for all time. We are his body who can make a difference, beginning in our homes, at work, in our parish, and in our community. Let us reflect upon what God is asking of us this Christmas? Like Mary, are we able to say “yes” to letting the world see the face of God in its midst?
This past week, James Callahan, a member of our parish and of the Knights of Columbus, presented me with a very generous donation. It was a check amounting to $1,230.00 from the K of C Breakfast sponsored for our parish last Sunday. I am most grateful to the Knights for their generosity. I thank all of you who attended the breakfast. We had a great showing of parishioners. Chuck Pappas has been doing a great job overseeing the breakfasts this year. When you have the opportunity, please extend a thank you to the Knights of Columbus for all their charitable works and for all they do to support our parishes.
Have a Blessed and Joyful Christmas!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ