From the Pastor – December 4, 2016

very short daily prayersJohn the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. (Mt 3:1-3)

The Christmas Season can often be a time of anxiety for us. There’s so much to do, so much to prepare. We have cards to write, homes to decorate, presents to buy, parties to attend, year-end reports to finish, etc. etc. etc. And when it’s all over, we let out a big sigh and enjoy ourselves. Then we clean up. And then we prepare for the next holiday, whether it’s New Year’s, Mardi Gras, or perhaps a SuperBowl party… Sometimes it seems like it never ends.

Surely, we know that we’re called to prepare for Christmas in a “spiritual” way. We hear this call to preparation throughout the readings of Advent. Last week, it was Isaiah asking us to prepare for the “coming.” This week it’s John the Baptist calling for repentance. We’ll hear more from John next week, and they’ll we’ll start hearing from angels!

In the end, holiday preparation is important, but only as regards to whom we are welcoming. It’s nice to welcome our families, our friends, or our neighbors to our homes for a Christmas celebration. We’re called to love our neighbors as ourselves. And it’s even better when we welcome those who are poor or sick or hungry by taking part in charitable activity in our parish or working at a food bank. But the real welcoming during Christmas should be the welcome that we give Jesus in our hearts. We hear the preparations of Advent: conversion, repentance and Confession. The reason is that we should welcome more than each other. We should welcome the Prince of Peace.
I don’t know about you, but Christmas parties, celebrations, dinners and receptions tend to wear me out. But the time I spend in quiet adoration and prayer with Christ in the Eucharist give me the peace that I need to put up with the craziness and commotion of the holidays.

We all know the “reason for the season” is Christ. What do we do to recognize that? Crèche scenes and “religious” greeting cards and “Keep Christ in your Christmas” bumper stickers are great. But Christ primarily wants to be recognized within our own souls. It’s there that He can give us the peace that the world can’t give. It’s there that He calms our soul and converts our hearts. It’s there that He gives us inner joy. And if we have that inner joy, we’re much more able to give it to each other! Consider attending some of the occasions we have for Eucharistic Adoration in our parish. Tuesdays 4:45pm – 5:45p, Thursdays 7:00am – 8:00am. Come spend time with the Prince of Peace.
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(Rev. Msgr.) Christopher H. Nalty