With Christmas Eve falling on Sunday I want to go over a few questions people have been asking. Yes, you need to go to Mass on the weekend as well as on Christmas. The weekend is the celebration of the 4th Sunday of Advent and even though it is Christmas Eve one does not cover for the other. On Sunday the 24th there will be one Mass at 9am rather than 8:30am and 10:30am. Due to the large number of Masses and the limited number of musicians, ministers and energy of me, many parishes are curtailing the number of Masses. The schedule for the 4th Sunday of Advent is Saturday at 5:30pm and Sunday at 9am.
The Christmas schedule is as follows: Christmas Eve 5:30pm and Midnight. Christmas Day will be 8:30am and 10:30am.
January 1st is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God and is usually a Holy Day of Obligation except when it falls on a Monday or Saturday. This year I will have a Sunday 4pm
Mass which will cover for both the Sunday and the Feast. This is the one time it happens in the near future. The next time it comes up I will be retired and not have to worry about it! I know it can be confusing when Feasts like this come up close to a weekend. Please make sure you mark your calendars so you know when the various Masses will be held. Oh, and by the way - I am taking off after the Christmas Masses and going into hibernation for the week!
Comfort. Everyone seeks it in one form or another. We have comfort food, comfortable shoes and our "happy place". The only problem with those types of comfort is that they do not last long. We still need to eat again, shoes wear out and happy places come and go. The question arises; where do we find true and lasting comfort and peace? In the first reading we hear God telling his prophet to speak words of comfort to his people that God will be their source of true and lasting comfort.
God does not mean that that will be found totally in this life. We do experience a taste of that day to day but as a precursor of what is to come in eternal life. That true source of comfort and peace is announced by John the Baptist, the precursor of the bringer of true and lasting peace, Jesus Christ. He is God's answer to what see seek and hope for. During Advent we are called to seek Christ as the source of life and fulfillment. Our prayer should echo that of St. Augustine; "Our hearts are restless O God, until they rest in you".
Next Saturday the World Youth Day Pilgrims will hold a chocolate stroll beginning at 9am. They will have over 20 different types of chocolate confections. The cost is $12.00 per pound. Fr. Don will also be holding a cross sale. There are a number of hand crosses and also wall crosses, some with relics of various Saints in them as well as specialty crosses for Christmas and with mixed woods. So plan to come and get your chocolate fix for the holidays. Extra chocolates will also be sold after the Masses and at the Parish Christmas Pot-Luck on Sunday the 17th.
Advent is a time for renewal and expectation. We begin a new liturgical year with the hope of the fulfillment of the Lord's promise to return and bring us into the fullness of the Kingdom of God. So we live in expectation. But what is it the we expect? The people of Israel expected a Messiah who would restore them as a great nation as it was under King David. But that was an earthly kingdom. The people set their sights to narrow, so narrow that they did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. In order for us to have great expectations we must attune ourselves to God's will for us. And how do we do that? By drawing closer to God through our prayer life and in the consistent practice of our faith. It is then that we can get a deeper insight into God's will for us. It is God's will that we come into closer union with Him and one another in order to share in the fullness of His Kingdom.
On Tuesday, December 5th an Advent Penance Service will be held here at Immaculate Conception at 7pm. The priests of the Deanery will be here to celebrate the Lord's Sacrament of healing and renewal. Please plan to come join us.