The Second Sunday of Advent always includes the Gospel account with John the Baptist. The prophets in the Old Testament served an indispensable service on behalf of God: they were His messengers who brought comforting words to the suffering, but stern words for the rebellious. John the Baptist is the last, and the greatest, of the prophets. What would Advent be without him? He is the one who announces the arrival of the Messiah. Although, strictly speaking, John announces the public ministry of the (now) thirty-years-old Jesus, the Church has always seen the words of the Baptist as also applying to us and to our preparation for the Lord’s birth. The Baptist’s call for repentance certainly applies to us, as it applied to the contemporaries of Jesus. It is good that the Church observes the different seasons of the liturgical year so that we might use these opportunities to be renewed in faith. The Advent season - if we take our cue from John the Baptist - is a most proper time to reform our lives, to repent from sin, and to seek the Lord’s forgiveness. Each of us was cleansed of sin at the time of our Baptism. For sins committed after Baptism we have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance. The Sacrament of Penance (also referred to as Confession or Reconciliation) is a beautiful expression of God’s love for us. He does not want us to remain in our sins. He desires our salvation and not our condemnation. Has it been a long time since you went to Confession? Maybe even many years? Don’t allow fear or any other thing keep you from experiencing the forgiving Grace of the Lord in the Sacrament of Penance. Now is the time to be reconciled to the Lord through this beautiful sacrament of mercy. You will find the schedule of confessions in this bulletin and in the parish Advent Calendar all our parishioners received several weeks ago (copies available in the Cenacle).
In our preparations for the Christmas Feast, I have thought it prudent to provide our parishioners the opportunity to “pre-register” for the specific Mass they plan on attending. Next Sunday we will have 3 diagrammed charts of the church interior (one for each Mass) on which parishioners may specify the number of family members and the pew in which they will sit. Since we have limited seating, this will ensure our parishioners are seated first. We will also provide seating in the basement of the church (with livestreaming on the large screen TV) to accommodate any overflow. All Masses will continue to be broadcast on radio as well. This is not a perfect solution, but nothing has been perfect lately!
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller