Since God has become Man in Jesus Christ, He has entered His creation and human history, and thus the liturgical seasons and feasts we celebrate are not empty rituals of distant events in Salvation History, but are real encounters with the living God. As with the natural world, 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 continually encounters her Lord and His saving Gospel to take-up more fully our life in Him and our place in the ongoing story of Salvation. Throughout these times and seasons, we as Christians re-live the life of Jess Christ: the Annunciation to the Bl. Virgin Mary with Jesus’ Incarnation; His Birth at the Nativity of Christmas; Jesus being raised in the holy family, His Baptism and retreat into the dessert, and Jesus’ Paschal Mystery: His Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension, and His giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to empower us to be His witnesses in the world. As Christians, celebrating well the rituals and traditions of the Church in the liturgical seasons and feats during the year, helps us to live intimately with Jesus Christ as Lord of our life and family.
As we prepare to journey through the season of Advent, the liturgical worship of the Church helps us to remember our need and longing for the Messiah – even though He’s already come historically. Although our world is all about immediate gratification; the timeless memory of the Church tells us as men and women to be in touch with our longings. It is good to long and to know there are parts of us that cry out in need even now. 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 still longing for conversion, healing, and new life in Jesus. The Church also encourages us to look for and be more open to the many ways in which the Lord comes to us now: sacramentally in confession and in Holy Communion, in the person of the priest, in the written word of 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 area parishes will offer more opportunities for the sacrament of God’s mercy in confession to help us go about this christian work:
- Sunday, 2 December – St. John the Evangelist in Logan, 4 pm
- Thursday, 13 December – St. Mary of the Assumption, 7 pm
- Monday, 17 December – St. Joseph in Sugar Grove, 7 pm
- Monday, 17 December – St. Mary in Bremen, 6.30 pm (individual confessions only)
- Tuesday, 18 December – St. Bernadette, 6.30 pm (individual confessions only)
- Thursday, 20 December – St. Bernadette, 6.30 pm (individual confessions only)
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.
Some Electronic Advent Prayer Companions to aid your Advent journey:
– Bishop Robert Barron’s Advent Gospel Reflections
– Magnificat’s Advent Companion for iOS and Android ($1.99)
– Dynamic Catholic’s Best Advent Ever