Pastor's Letter - December 17, 2017

As we draw nearer to the celebration of the birth of our Savior we should be observant of the images which the Scriptures bring forth. One of the beautiful things about our Catholic Faith is that we are enriched not only by the words of Sacred Scripture, but also by the accumulated wisdom of the Saints over the past 2000 years. Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430 A.D.) wrote extensively about the role of John the Baptist, who is mentioned again in today’s Gospel. John was “not the light, but came to testify to the light.” The light, of course, is Jesus, whose birth we celebrate in the darkest time of the year. Symbolically and liturgically we express our belief in the coming of the Messiah, the “light”, Who came to dispel the darkness of sin and death. Secondly, we hear from the Gospel that John the Baptist is “the voice of one crying out in the desert.” St. Augustine notes that it is the Baptist, the voice, who announces the arrival of Jesus, the Word. John is just the voice, but Jesus is the Word. The voice passes away, but the Word continues. That is why we celebrate each year the incarnation of the Lord, the Word made flesh. The voice passes away, but Jesus - Emmanuel, “God with us” - remains with us.

At the beginning of Advent we made available many different resources for the Advent season. I hope these resources have helped each family to observe more fully the Advent season, and to prepare spiritually for the Feast of Christmas. To further assist in your preparation, please note the opportunities for the Sacrament of Confession and for solemn Vespers during the remaining two weeks of Advent. What a beautiful and simple way to help prepare for the Feast of Christmas!

With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, some of the faithful ask questions about our ‘obligations’ in attending Mass. We are obliged to attend Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent (Sat. eve or Sun. morning) AND Mass for Christmas (Sunday eve/midnight or Monday morning). Rather than say we HAVE to go, I like to say we GET to go to Mass for Sunday and Christmas!

May God bless you!
Fr. Schaller