It’s Gaudete Sunday!! I hope you are rejoicing a little more this week than usual, especially after our Parish Mission and Day of Mercy. The question everyone in the Gospel was asking John the Baptist, is one we should ask ourselves today; What should we do?
After an amazing parish mission with Fr. Gene, after the Day of Mercy with 24 hour confessions and adoration; What should we do?
As a parish these experiences have provided us with a specific opportunity to encounter Jesus. During Advent we often times focus on the two comings of Christ, his first coming at Bethlehem that we will celebrate in a few days, but also, we focus on preparing for his second coming at the end of time. What we often forget about, is how Jesus comes to us now! Jesus hasn’t abandoned us but has given us profound ways that we can encounter him daily, through the Sacraments, Mass and through you and I. Our Parish Mission and Day of Mercy should have heightened that awareness in all of us. Hopefully it made us more aware of Jesus’ presence in us especially when we take the time to focus on our spiritual life and the inner voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As we are now in our first of three years celebrating our 175th anniversary, and focusing on our theme of ‘I am a disciple’, being a disciple means that we make time and space in our lives to be with Jesus, to learn from the Master. The other day a visitor came to our parish for Mass and asked me as they entered, what is this ‘I am a disciple’ stuff all about? I shared with them that it is our theme for the first of three years of our anniversary and all of us as a parish are becoming more aware that we ARE disciples. They were in shock and questioned if they were a disciple if they aren’t a part of our parish? (Lol) I assured them that they were!
As John the Baptist helped people to repent and prepare, questions for us might arise of how do we prepare in this era? The Parish Mission and Day of Mercy were great ways to start preparations, here are a few more suggestions:
- Does your family have a Nativity scene at home? Is it in a prominent place? Have your family gather each night for a prayer around the Nativity scene.
- Where is faith in your family’s Christmas traditions? Consider adding or expanding a faith component of your Christmas celebrations by; reading one of the Nativity stories in scripture, share the Christmas wafer (Oplatek) that can be picked up in the back of church – as you break a piece off with one another share a Christmas blessing with the other person, sing Christmas carols before or after opening presents… or both!
- Make sure you take time to focus on the meaning of the season. If you find yourself getting stressed, the focus is shifting, reorient yourself with 5 minutes of silent meditation on Jesus.