This weekend we celebrate the Second Sunday of Advent. The key figure in the Gospel this week is John the Baptist. After spending time in the desert, John goes throughout Judea proclaiming a baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Using words from the prophet, Isaiah, John calls all to Prepare the way of the Lord. How are we preparing the way of the Lord today? How are we making straight his paths? How are we instruments through which all flesh shall see the salvation of God? As we open our hearts in prayer each day, we are becoming more deeply aware of Christ’s presence in our lives and our world: Emmanuel, God-with us. A few years ago, Father Jim gave us the image of “interior decorating and enhancement of our inner selves” as a way of preparing the way of the Lord. In enhancing our inner selves, Christ’s presence is reflected in our outer selves. When that happens, others encounter Christ through us.
The Year of Prayer in our parish was initiated last weekend. Cards with The Prayer Process were distributed. Hopefully, we will use them each day to help us reflect upon how we are responding to God’s presence in our lives and faithfully living out our call to discipleship. The Prayer Process and the Little Blue Books are a means of helping us to establish a daily routine of prayer this Advent, and throughout the year.
The first of our Vicariate Advent Communal Penance Liturgies will take place this Thursday at 7:00 PM at Christ the Good Shepherd Parish (Saint Helen Church). One way in which each of us can prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas this year is by receiving the sacrament of Penance. Besides this Thursday, there are two more Penance Liturgies in our vicariate this Advent. Please consult the Prayer, Enrichment, and Outreach Schedule in the bulletin for the other dates.
Special thanks to those of you who took tags from the Giving Tree to reach out to both children and adults in need in our area. Please remember to return your gifts by next Sunday, December 16. However, if your gifts are poinsettias, the Christian Service Commission is asking that you return them by this Monday or Tuesday (December 10/11).
We are still in need of several parishioners to help with enhancing the church space for Christmas. Please note the sign-up sheets on the bulletin boards at the church entrances for days and times of setting up trees, the nativity set, and placing of the Christmas flowers.
Blessings on your Advent Season!
Sister Chris Gretka, CSJ