November 27, 2016
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Happy Thanksgiving weekend! I pray that you had the opportunity to give thanks with loved ones on Thursday. I felt so blessed to also be able to be with my brothers and sisters in ministry and the larger Christian community at the annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service at Grace Lutheran Church on Wednesday night. Whether we could be with family and friends or not, we are blessed to gather weekly around this Thanksgiving table as a family of faith. We come to the table of the Lord, the altar of His sacrifice of love for us, knowing that we are called to a communion of life and love with Christ and one another. For this we are truly grateful. It’s not an accident that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving.
Advent begins today! We light the first of the candles on our wreaths as Jesus commands us: “Stay awake!” and “Be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” One might object. Doesn’t Advent focus our attention on the upcoming celebration of Christmas, that He has already come? Well, yes and no. Advent aims our attention in two directions, past and future. Knowing what God has done and what God will do in the future, we gain greater perspective on who we are in the present.
To know who we are we must look to the past and see that the Christ event has changed everything. In gratitude, we prepare ourselves to celebrate Christmas, that God loves us, that Christ has come, that our salvation is at hand and that we are called to live in communion with Him. Looking to the past helps us to know Christian joy!
But, it’s equally true to say that we must look to the future. Yes. He has come, but in His great love for us Christ will also come again! To prepare for this, to be watchful and alert leads to Christian hope! As disciples of Christ, our joy and hope deepen as we discover with ever greater clarity who we are and where we are going. God’s love is our origin, our salvation, our constant calling and our future bliss. In a world where so many are lost and despondent, we need this Advent season with its boundless joy and hope! We are certainly loved, and God has great things in store for us. May this message permeate everything we say and do. Truly, this season, believe it or not, is a time for perspective! This requires that we are to be intentional. So please take time for prayer, adoration, scripture study, and reconciliation in the coming weeks. Also, please read our wonderful weekly bulletin, packed with great information and opportunities.
Catechism Question of the Week: St. John the Baptist is… A) the Lord’s immediate precursor, B) Prophet of the Most High, C) the one who surpasses all the prophets, D) the friend of the Bridegroom or E) all of the above (see CCC 523)
With family, friends and those you meet, please discuss the following Question of the Week: Do I produce good fruit/works as evidence of my conversion?
In Christ’s Peace,