Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We begin our Advent Season today, a brief one this year, just three weeks and one day, December 24th. Many Americans are preparing for the secular aspects of Christmas – presents, holiday decorations and parties. But we also are to prepare spiritually for Christ’s coming. The first half of Advent concentrates on the second coming of Christ at the end of time. We are challenged to put our lives in order so that we are always prepared to meet Jesus. The second half of this brief season speaks of the coming of the messiah, or the Christ, in time, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies about son of David who is to be humanity’s savior. For us, we also might use this brief time to train our minds during this season to meet Christ in the present, to see Christ in the daily events of our lives and also to long for the encounter in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Reconciliation. Please see the rest of the bulletin for the Christmas Mass schedule.
Friday, December 8th is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary and a Holy Day of Obligation for all Catholics. This is a special day in the life of our Church in which we celebrate the fact that Mary, the Mother of the Son of God, was herself conceived in a perfect state, devoid of original sin. In other words, Mary was not conceived in that condition of being separated from the life of the Trinity, a condition in which we were all conceived. The redemptive grace of Jesus’ cross and the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to her at her conception. For us, we received this grace of redemption and the gift of the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. On this day, we also celebrate the fact that Mary remained in this state of holiness all of her earthly life. God further gave Mary a special grace which she had to use and cooperate with all of her life. He did this to provide a fitting mother for His Divine Son, to recreate humanity that fell with the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve and to provide us an example of what is possible with God’s grace. In the Immaculate Conception, we celebrate the fact that Mary said yes to God all of her life. She is an example of what a disciple should be – a willingness to always do God’s will. We also have her as a mother who prays for us and comforts us.
Masses for the Holy Day will be at 10:00 a.m. on Friday at Sacred Heart and at 6:00 p.m. on Friday at St. John Baptist. Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
May God bless you this week!
Sacred Heart and St. John the Baptist