Fr Kevin’s Column 12/05/2021

Dear friends of God,

We continue along our Advent journey together.   I hope that this time of preparation for the coming of Christ is fruitful for each of us in love, kindness and nearness of the Lord. When I prepare the prayers that I use for Mass, I use a number of resources. One shared the following reflection regarding this weekend’s readings.

“We hear from both Baruch and Isaiah today, the latter through Luke’s description of John the Baptist’s work, challenging and comforting the people of Israel. Baruch calls the people back to Jerusalem, where they will be ‘wrapped in the cloak of justice.’ Isaiah promises that when the Lord comes, ‘all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ Let us prepare for the Lord’s coming, assured that justice and salvation are nigh.”

Advent calls us to social justice. I realize that the words “social justice” make some shiver with concern, but justice for those poorest among us is at the center of our Catholic Christian faith. We cannot ever separate our love for God from our love for our neighbor. In our Catholic Tradition, we are our neighbors’ keeper. That can be a challenge to our American sense of rugged individualism. In our life and in our death, we are drawn into community. During Advent, we honor three different “comings” of Christ. The first is in the crib in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, the second is within our hearts and the third is the coming of Christ at the end of time. At the end of the age, there will be a communal judgment. Think of Matthew 25:31-46 where we are asked how we treated the least of Jesus’ brothers and sisters and told that is how we have treated Jesus himself. We will be judged as a people. That is why we respond to the world that remembers our responsibility is to work for the benefit of all people and not just some. We are to strive to live lives of charity and prayer. In doing that, our love flows from our prayer and meditation. That becomes a challenge when we begin to believe that it is in what we own that creates happiness.

Pope Francis said in his Advent homily Dec. 1, 2019:

“Resist the dazzling lights of consumption, which will shine everywhere this month, and believe that prayer and charity are not lost time, but the greatest treasures…”

We are consuming ourselves to death. The way of life comes from love and prayer.

Henri Nouwen was a Catholic priest and spiritual writer. He was a learned cleric with a heart full of love. As we continue our Advent journey, I want to share his Advent Prayer:

“Lord Jesus,

Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!’

Amen.”

This weekend we welcome Father Jerry Balwinski to be with us. I am taking a time for prayer with a monk friend of mine.

This week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.   We will have masses at 9AM and 7PM on December 8th to honor our Mother Mary on this holy day of obligation.

May God continue to bless you in these days of preparation for the coming of the Lord.
 
Much Love,
Father Kevin