Dear Friends in Christ,
We come to the First Sunday of Advent, a season of penance and preparation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in 1943, “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes…and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” We are now embarking on another Advent, a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord. At various times in our lives, we may feel trapped, trapped in our habits, our sins, or our weaknesses. There seems to be such little hope around us. Whether it be the world stage, division in our country or confusion in our Church, our cell becomes more confining on our souls. Now, we begin a new year in the Church filled with new opportunities. We can have new opportunities to connect to God, to find Him deep within ourselves and to discover him in our neighbor in His distressing disguise in the poor. A baby always brings new hope, new possibilities to a family. Well, it is the longing for a King who came among us as the humblest, most vulnerable of people: a baby. This Super Baby comes to save us from sin and death. He alone brings eternal life. The cell doors of our soul might be flung open and only Jesus has the key to our hearts. Let us prepare for our visitation from Jesus. We need to read the Bible, pray to the Lord daily, speak to Our Lady, go to confession and be faithful to weekly attendance at Mass. Yes, Advent helps us to realize that there is an answer to all our problems. He is a baby born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth and conquered the world with His love one person at a time. The title of Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski’s autobiography was Freedom Within. These are his memoirs while imprisoned by the Communists. No cell could contain his soul and so it is with us. Jesus is coming to us…do we really want the cell doors of our soul opened? Do we really want to celebrate Christmas? Jesus opens our door so that we are free to live…really live. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus! Set us free!
The Christmas Mass calendar is strange this year because of when Christmas falls. The Fourth Sunday of Advent falls on Christmas Eve day. The perennial question asked, “Must we go to Mass on Sunday and Christmas?” The answer is “yes.” Holy Mass is a privilege! Saturday/Sunday, December 24th, provides the Masses to fulfil the Sunday obligation. The Mass times are the norm with the exception of 6:00 PM on Sunday night. Sunday evening (Christmas Eve) will begin the Christmas schedule: 4:00 PM Mass (St. Agnes and the children’s celebration at St. Jude); 6:00 PM; 8:00 PM; Midnight Mass; and on Christmas Day, 7:30 AM; 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM (the Miraculous Medal Novena will be prayed after this Mass). There will not be a 6:00 PM Mass on Christmas night. I know it is a bit confusing, but should you have questions, please call the Parish Office. Have a blessed Advent! Come Lord Jesus!
God bless you,