Welcome, Bishop Hurley, to Saint John Paul II Parish! It is a privilege and an honor to have you celebrate Mass with us on this Fourth Sunday of Advent! Please be assured of our continued prayers for you, our Apostolic Administrator, during this time of transition in our diocese.
The Gospel passage this Sunday is from Saint Luke. It is the account of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. Both are “with child.” We might overlook the reality that four individuals are present in this Gospel story if we don’t pay attention to the fact that both Mary and Elizabeth have life within them. They not only have life within them, but that life is responding to the event at hand. [Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, may even be present since the Scripture refers to Mary entering the house of Zechariah]. However, the story centers around Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is filled with joy at Mary’s visit (perhaps unexpected) and feels her own child leap within her womb. In great faith, she exclaims, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Then she refers to Mary as “the mother of my Lord.” What Mary and Joseph learned from an angel, Elizabeth seems to know through faith once encountering Mary and through the response of the child within her womb (John the Baptist who is the one who prepares the Way of the Lord – even in the womb of his mother). The final line of the Gospel, “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” What great faith both Mary and Elizabeth had! What great faith we have when we trust in the Lord’s promise to us – the Lord’s promise that Emmanuel (God-with-us) is always with us and will never abandon us, that he has come “in the flesh” for our salvation: that we might know God, and how much God loves us. We have reason to rejoice as we come to the end of the Season of Advent and prepare to celebrate the great Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord.
In the name of the Parish Staff, and Father Jim, our Sacramental Minister, I wish you and your families a blessed, joyous, and grace-filled Christmas! I do hope you are able to join us for one of our Christmas Liturgies: 7:00 PM Christmas Eve and 10:00 AM Christmas Day. Postcards were sent out last week with a Christmas Greeting along with the Christmas Mass Schedule. Hopefully, you received them by now.
Blessings on you and your families this Christmas!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ
Please note that the Parish Office is open only one day this week:
Thursday, December 27, from 9:30 AM – 2:30 PM.