December 12 & 13
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today is Gaudete Sunday. The Introit or Entrance Antiphon echoes the passage from St. Paul’s first letter to The Thessalonians: “Rejoice, always!” And why are they called to rejoice? The world back then and even 500 years before during the time of Isaiah, was turbulent and frightening. People were wondering what calamities were coming next. And yet both prophet and apostles are speaking words of encouragement and hopefulness. Surely we need to take to heart the same joyful advice.
The very nature of this rejoicing Sunday is to lighten up. The priestly vesture changes to rose instead of purple; the third candle on the Advent Wreath is lighted, thus radiating more brilliance. Even though daylight is diminishing celestial lights are becoming more prominent. Isn’t there coming a brighter light in the heavens reminding us of the Star of Bethlehem.
A healthy curiosity is expressed by those who hear the preaching of John the Baptist. Is he the long-expected one? No, but he is preparing the way from Him. How then are our preparations coming? The most important is the elimination of all darkness that may reside in our souls. The remedy for that is a good and thorough confession. Indeed, we may be infatuated with all the external lights around us, but just think of the holy glow that comes from a soul cleansed from sin. That’s the light that Our Lord wants to see. Then, both He and we can rejoice together.
We have a recurring Advent-Christmas mystery in our parish. Each year “someone”, unbeknownst to pastor or parishioners (because I have inquired of many), drops off two glorious wreaths for the front doors of St. Mary Magdalen. Though I have my suspicions, I really do not know who makes them. Nonetheless, on behalf of your priests and fellow parishioners, I want to thank you for your kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness. Also, our profound thanks for the great artistry and talent given to decorating our Honesdale parish grounds. What God has given to Cindy Williams, she has given to us. One simply wants to linger and enjoy our own winter wonderland. Thank you Cindy from all of us for your beautiful work.
Keep the Advent Spirit,