The closer we get to Christmas, the more likely we will hear the question, “Are we ready for Christmas?” Besides all the other preparations we do for Christmas like putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, baking cookies the 3rd Sunday of Advent adds three more things to our “to do” list: we are called to rejoice, be patient and be a messenger.
If we are to be ready for Christmas, the prophet Isaiah tells us that we should rejoice, because God is coming to save his people. We are to rejoice because our salvation is nearer, the time of Advent waiting is nearly over, as the celebration of the birth of Christ draws near. St. James in his letter tells us to be patient as we wait for the coming of the Lord. Part of being patient is to avoid complaining about others. Bearing our share of hardships is another part, one that can be a real test of patience. The prophets of old while proclaiming God’s message were patient, they had to face many hardships yet they did their task with persistence. The third week of Advent also calls us to be messengers. In the Gospel Jesus indirectly claims to be the Messiah. He points to the actions that exemplify the presence of the Messianic age. He praises John as a prophet and one even greater than a prophet, a person who prepared the way of the Lord. Each one of us is the messenger and so we too have a very important role to play but before telling others to prepare a way for the Lord we need to set an example. Jesus through his Eucharistic meal nourishes and strengthens us so that we will be able to carry out our task with patience and with joy.
As we are nearing the celebration of Christ’s birth I invite each one to take advantage of the opportunity for confession during this time. Most of the Churches have confessions on Saturday’s before Mass. Besides our regular confessions we will have our Advent Penance Service on Wednesday December 14th 7.00 pm, at St. Valentine’s Church. There will be a three more priests besides Fr. Henry and myself. Advent is a good time to heal all that keeps us from experiencing the divine love and mercy. Once you take part in this sacrament then if you had confessions on your “To Do” list then you will be able to check it off. Let’s hope that our spiritual preparation for the birth of Our Savior ranks right up there with the many other ways we anticipate December 25th.
On this rejoice Sunday we rejoice that the birth of our Lord and Savior is near! We rejoice in the forgiveness God generously offers us!
Blessings to all,
A Christmas Gift for Your Parish
In order to balance our parish budget every year we rely heavily on the generous gifts that come to us through the Christmas collection. We also rely heavily on the weekly Offertory gifts that are made 52 weeks out of the year. Both your Christmas gifts to our parish and your weekly Offertory gifts help us manage our operating budget. For this reason, we ask you to please be as generous as possible with your Christmas gift to the parish. The Archdiocese gives all parishes a special exemption from the 7% assessment only for the Christmas collection. Your contribution to your parish at Christmas stays right here at St. Valentine. If you can be more generous during the Christmas season, please mark your envelope “Christmas” and the contribution will be recorded as such.
Thank you for your generosity both throughout the year and at Christmas.
God Bless You.