In her liturgical year the Church helps the Christian faithful to encounter each year anew, her Lord, Jesus Christ. Since God has become Man in Jesus Christ, He has entered time and our world, and thus the liturgical seasons and commemorations are not memories of distant events of our Salvation History, but are encounters with the living God. As with the visible world and nature, there are seasons and cycles to the year. The same is true with our liturgical year. There are times for fasting and feasting; times for sorrow and joy; and times for more intense conversion and penance. But in all of this, the Church encounters her Lord and His saving Gospel. Throughout these times and seasons, Catholics re-live the life of Christ: the Annunciation to the Bl. Virgin Mary, Jesus’ Incarnation, His Birth, being raised in the holy family, His Baptism and retreat into the dessert, and His Paschal Mystery: His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension and the Gift of the Holy Spirit. As Christians, celebrating well the rituals and traditions of the Church in her liturgical year, helps us to live intimately with Jesus Christ.
As we prepare to journey through the season of Advent, the prayer and worship of the Church helps us to remember our need and longing for the Messiah. Although our world is all about immediate gratification; the timeless memory of the Church tells us to be in touch with our longings. It is good to long. By recalling the ancient prophecies and the expectancy of the Messiah, we are aided in renewing our need for Jesus as Lord and Saviour, and welcoming Him more into our lives, especially those fibers of our being that are in need of conversion and healing. Mother Church also encourages us to look for the many ways in which the Lord comes to us now: sacramentally in Holy Communion, in the person of the Priest, in holy Scripture, and in the person of our neighbour. We are also reminded that the Lord will return again at the end of time as Judge, or at our death in particular judgement, and so we heed the call of John the Baptizer to “make straight His paths.”
With this in mind, let us look to where we need the Lord more in our lives – to turn away from sin and to turn toward the Lord and His mercy and healing. Our deanery parishes will offer advent penance services to help us go about this christian work:
- Tuesday, 5 December – St. John the Evangelist – Logan, 7.00 pm
- Sunday, 10 December – St. Bernadette – Lancaster, 3.00 pm
- Tuesday, 12 December – St. Mark the Evangelist – Lancaster, 7.00 pm
- Thursday, 14 December – St. Mary of the Assumption, 7.00 pm
- Sunday, 17 December – St. Mary – Bremen, 3.00 pm
- Tuesday, 19 December – St. Joseph – Sugar Grove, 7.00 pm
As Mother Church helps us to prepare not only for the commemoration of the Nativity this Advent, but more importantly, for when we meet the Lord face to face, let us avail ourselves of this special opportunity to seek God’s mercy and grace in this sacrament. Let us welcome the Divine Physician into our lives to heal and transform us, so that we may be ready and open to receive Christ the Lord in the many ways He comes to us this Advent and this New Liturgical Year.