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 2,000 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 liturgi- cally, we express our belief in the coming of the Messi- ah, 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 ful- ly the Advent season, and to prepare spiritually for the Feast of Christmas. To further assist in your prepara- tion, 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!
Each year in December, the Church in the U.S. has the collection for the Retired Religious. So many of our Catholics have benefited from the selfless work of the Religious Sisters and Brothers. I hope you will be generous in supporting the needs of the Retired Religious in this collection.
May God bless you!