We all love good stories. Think of your favorite movies, favorite books, favorite childhood stories. These stories can be simple tales, or can be stories that point to larger realities. Either way, any story has a way to shape us. Over the past few weeks we heard some of the most common and popular stories that were ever told in the history of humankind. A story about there being no room at the inn and a child being born in a stable. A story about shepherds coming to do him homage and now the magi coming with gifts.
Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones! Jesus is born and the world is swept out of the darkness and brought into Divine Light. Christmas is a joyous time, a reflective time, a peaceful time. I hope you will enjoy all three of those blessings of the day. We can be joyful because God has come to save us in the person of Jesus Christ. The ancient world was awaiting the Savior. In God’s time, He chose to allow His Son to enter into our time.
On this Third Sunday in Advent, we light the rose candle in the Advent wreath. This Sunday in our Advent preparations is traditionally known as “Gaudete Sunday” or “Rejoice Sunday.” On this Sunday in Advent the Church shifts its focus from penitential to one of joy. It is a shift from who we are to what happens when we become the kind of people we are capable of becoming. In the midst of our Advent preparations we anticipate Jesus’ coming joyfully.
There's something about the shorter days at this time of year that makes me reflective…
I remember growing up with the family Advent wreath at the center of our big round dinner table. We were seven children, and so each of us got one day of the week to light the candles. (I was the fourth child, so Wednesday was my day.) I loved striking the match and watching the tapers catch fire.
It's Advent. I know the Christmas music started weeks ago on the radio. I know there were Christmas decorations out in the stores before my kids even went trick-or-treating. I know there are only 21 shopping days left before Christmas. But, it’s Advent, not “almost Christmas” not “the holiday season,” Advent. According to the dictionary, advent means the arrival of something important or awaited. Today is the first day of intentional waiting and anticipation for something very important to Christians, the Incarnation; God becoming flesh.
Rhonda and Scott Swanson are this year’s Saint Clement recipients of the Christifideles award from Archbishop Cupich. This award is given to men and women in the Archdiocese for their dedication to the Church and its ministries. Rhonda and Scott are deeply committed and dedicated members of Saint Clement. They have four children and have been members of the parish for over 25 years.
The calendar of the church has come to an end. Sunday, November 26th is the last Sunday of the year and the 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time, though we usually call it by its official name: the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. In the long arc of Church feast days and designations, this one is less than a 100 years old. Pope Pius XI established this solemnity in 1925.
Over the years, this Gospel reading has been an ever-evolving lesson for me. In its literal sense, I have struggled with the master’s harsh criticism of the third’s handling of money. In turn, I find myself critical of the master, for his treatment of this poor servant—uncompassionate and lacking understanding. I wonder if my reaction is likely because I might have acted similarly. Thus, each time I read it, I feel an initial reaction of disdain, but know I must take a step back and re-examine how Christ is challenging me in this parable.