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. Note especially the City-wide Advent Confessions scheduled from Noon until 6pm, next Sunday, December 17, at SS Peter & Paul. At least 3 priests will be continually available for confession the entire 6 hours.
May God bless you! Fr. Schaller