It is hard to believe it, but Advent is here! November 29th, we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, which is the time that leads us to Christmas. I need to admit, being born in the warm savannas of Colombia, when winter approaches I am not the most enthusiastic person. I find it helpful, though, to overcome the concerns of winter with the events that I look forward to. For instance, before the chilly weather came, I went out shopping, and I got a nice winter coat and a very warm pair of boots. I am looking forward to wearing them!
The great event that keeps us looking forward during Advent is Christmas! Christmas for me means the beauty of the liturgy, the music, novenas, gatherings, family, friendships and food. Every celebration which we are part of is pointing toward the great mystery of Christmas, the coming into this world of our Lord Jesus Christ. And He is the reason why, dear friends, the Church invites us to prepare our hearts for four Sundays before the celebration of His Nativity. As we go every year through these beautiful times of Advent and Christmas, we already have a set of activities and celebrations aiming to spiritually prepare us. There will be more opportunities to be part of the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, more moments dedicated to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, time for adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, novenas and much more.
Dear families, despite the chilly weather outdoors, St. Patricks is a warm place to come together and celebrate Advent and Christmas. St. Patricks is our extended family; come and invite your friends and neighbors along with you. I am looking forward to celebrating Advent and Christmas with you.
Finally, we registered St. Patricks to “formed.org”. It is an online resource which you will have access to if you have internet at home. It is designed to be studied individually, with the family or with groups of people. This is the best Catholic content all in one place. It is time to double our efforts with continued formation regarding the contents of our faith. I believe FORMED will help us to discover even more the beauty of our Catholic faith. See the instructions to sign up in this news letter or on the Sunday bulletin.
May the hope of Advent become a reality for you with the coming of Baby Jesus on Christmas Day.
Dear parishioners, With the Solemnity of Christ the King we conclude the liturgical year. Therefore, next weekend is already the First Sunday of Advent. This Solemnity is a reminder for us that Jesus Christ is the King of heaven above and earth below. Despite the apocalyptic signs we see taking place before our very eyes, such as wars, persecution of Christian, prohibitions to freely express our faith and any expression of evil, we know the world follows the wisdom of the Divine Creator, and it is under his Divine providence. I would like to share with you a short reflection on Christ’s Kingship being connected to his dying on the cross. People have the tendency to trust more in earthly kingdoms. We know by history that any earthly kingdom perishes with time. It does not matter how powerful it might be; every earthly kingdom will face its own declining. Not so with Christ’s kingdom. His kingdom is not based on dominating power; rather it is based on the weakness of self-giving. His dying on the cross was an open gate for us and the return to His eternal kingdom. This heroic act of Jesus on the cross took place with the sole purpose of saving humanity from the bondage of sin and evil. It is the most sublime act of love and compassion from God to humanity. The cross, therefore, is not a symbol of death, rather the symbol of self-giving of life. There is no greater love than giving one’s life for the sake of others. Jesus dying on the cross was not an act against human life. There are at least three reasons which indicate to us that the cross is the symbol of life. First, Jesus did not express His desire to die, rather to do the Father’s will. Second, His dying on the cross is the open gate for us to share in his eternal life. Third, Jesus dying on the cross is an act of love for humanity so that we may have eternal life. The love of the cross is a love which experiences suffering and agony in order to reach plenitude of life. God bless you all. Fr. Lopez
In Today’s Gospel of Mark, we read that Jesus was sitting near the treasury observing people making their offerings. The treasury was the safe located within the temple in Jerusalem where people deposited their donations. Jesus observed the following: Wealthy people came and offered large amounts. A widow approached the treasury and put in two small coins worth only a few cents.
In his observation, Jesus came to the conclusion that the poor widow offered more than all the others; reason being, she contributed all she had and the others gave from their surplus. Those who did well with material possessions had a secure future and their offerings did not affect it. On the other hand, the widow offered all she had and there was nothing left for the future. The majority of people may have seen the widow’s offering as very insignificant. Not so for Jesus; He saw a woman with a generous heart and with a deep trust in God. This passage, dear friends, is about having a generous heart and a deep trust in God.
We can be generous with more than our material blessings. God wants us to be generous with our time, giving one’s time to someone who is sick or going through a great loss. God also wants us to be generous with our skills; the talents which God has given to us are meant to be for the service of the community. There is no one so poor that they cannot help someone in need; and there is no one so rich that they are not in need of someone’s help. It is wise to plan for the future, but with a generous heart and deep trust in God.
God bless you.
Rev. Johnson Lopez
Father Lopez is Pastor of Saint Patrick Catholic Church in Rochelle, IL.