Pastor's Corner

2023 12-16   Rejoice! The Third Sunday of Advent

Written by: Father Neil Herlihy

We celebrate Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday on this Third Sunday of Advent as we wait in joyful anticipation for the coming of the Christ Child.  In our Sunday gospels during Advent, the call to prepare for Christ comes primarily from John the Baptist.  He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who point the way to the Messiah.  John is also the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs.  He, in essence, tells us to prepare the way of the Lord, acknowledge our shortcomings and failures, repent of our sins, and change our hearts.  However, we can be preoccupied with shopping, social gatherings and parties, and travel plans which can easily distract us from focusing on this important message.  Distractions can be very real and very tempting and were addressed by Pope Francis.

As previously noted, the media outlet “Catholic News Service” reported that in a gathering with Vatican employees, Pope Francis asked “will people go to adore and be amazed by Jesus, or will they let themselves be detoured by distractions?”  As a way to avoid distractions, he invited the faithful to focus on the call to holiness.  He stated that one sign of holiness is being able to “be astonished, to feel the wonder before God’s gifts, his ‘surprises.’  And the greatest gift, the ever-new surprise is Jesus.”

As we reflect on these profound words of Our

Holy Father, and as we strive to prepare spiritually for the coming of the Lord, we are reminded that on Monday, December 18th at 9 am, we will celebrate a memorial Mass for our beloved former pastor, Monsignor Paul Reynolds.  He shepherded his congregation at Saint Brigid from 2006 until his death in 2010.     He was a priest of great wisdom, insight, and joy, and truly appreciated the opportunity to serve the people entrusted to his care.

Then on Wednesday, December 20th, we will have a Penance Service to assist us in spiritually preparing for the Christmas season.  We will have visiting priests available for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  The Sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.  It is available to get us closer to the Lord who loves us.

As we reflect on our memory of Monsignor Reynolds, and on the example of John the Baptist, we know the Lord is ready to come to us.  We are encouraged to continue to do brief Advent scripture readings each day to better prepare ourselves for his coming.  In addition, we are challenged to avoid the distractions of the season which can easily overwhelm us and strive to truly open our hearts to receive the Christ Child in a spirit of holiness, and in a spirit of joy as we continue on our Advent journey of faith.          

2023 12-24   Christmas
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