This Advent Season is a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered and celebrated. But it is also a season when that remembrance directs our minds and hearts to await Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. Advent is a season that brings to mind the Two Comings of Christ In the Gospel of this Second Sunday of Advent, John the Baptist echoes the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths!” This reminds us that this season is a time for preparation and purification in anticipation of our celebration of Christmas.
We often think of Advent as a penitential season because the liturgical color for Advent is violet/purple, like the color of Lent, which is a penitential season. However, Advent is not a penitential season in the sense that Lent is but rather is time for devout and joyful expectation.
Advent prepares for Christ’s coming in three ways, in the Incarnation of Christmas, at the end of time and the Last Judgment, and at our own individual judgment. As the days grow darker and the nights grow longer, we long for the light of Christ to come into our world, our homes and our hearts.
So in the time we have before Christmas, we might ask ourselves how are we doing preparing for Christ’s coming? Are we purifying our lives of those things that keep us from truly loving and serving Christ? To devoutly and joyfully expect our Savior’s coming, mustn't we prepare and purify our lives? Isaiah talks of preparing the way of the Lord and making straight his paths and in this he refers to the destruction of sin. It is a call to prepare our hearts to be ready for Christ and the Christmas season.
Tis the Season to make a good Confession!! In Confession, we hear Christ himself speak to us through the priest that our sins are forgiven and we are to go and do better. It is the best way to prepare and purify ourselves for Christmas. This week we celebrate the Sacrament of Confession for the students of both our Religious Education Program and OLM School.
I often explain to the children that St. Joseph prepared the manger for the arrival of the Christ Child by cleaning it up. So we should clean out hearts as well. Clean out the dirt we know as sin and bad habits. We then receive an infusion of sacramental grace to enable us to live holier lives. At OLM, Confession is available each week on Saturdays from 3:00pm until 3:45pm and on Mondays from 6:00pm until 6:45pm.
In addition to these regularly scheduled times we are adding more opportunities for Confession before Christmas. On Saturday, December 22nd Confessions will be heard from 2:00pm until 3:45pm with three priests available. Also on Monday, December 24th, Christmas Eve, Confessions will be heard from 1:00pm until 3:00pm with three priests available. So there are plenty of opportunities for everyone of any age to make a good Confession before Christmas.
Let’s follow St. Joseph’s good example and clean up the manger for Christ. The manger that is your heart and soul. Advent calls us to begin anew and fresh and with a greater zeal. We gain that zeal and freshness by truly preparing and purifying our lives for Christ’s coming. Seek out God’s mercy in Confession, give Him your sins and failures and let Him give you His Grace!
Give yourself the very best gift this Christmas, make a good Confession. It doesn’t cost but a little of your time and some prayer and reflection! It will make your Christmas more joyous, grace-filled and meaningful.
Pope Francis reminds us:“Christmas is a day of great joy, also exterior, but is primarily a religious event for which spiritual preparation is needed. In this Advent season, let us be guided by the exhortation of John the Baptist: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.’”
Join us on this Friday, December 14th at 6pm for the OLM School Christmas Pageant. It is a joyful celebration of the season with music and song. Celebrate the reason for the season, Jesus Christ! Prepare the way and make straight the path with a good Confession before Christmas! Christ is waiting for you!! Be well. Do good. God Bless. Go Pats!!!