Saturday, 22 December 2018
It is difficult to believe that we are already here. The waiting is nearly over. We have prepared these last three weeks. We have cleansed our souls with the Sacrament of Confession. We have decorated and set up our homes to receive our Lord Jesus. We are ready to welcome Him into our hearts, into our souls, into our lives, into our homes. The 4th Week of Advent is only one day long and then we begin to celebrate the birth of Jesus!
Elizabeth praises Mary because of her faith. She believed that what was spoken to her by the Angel Gabriel would be fulfilled. Mary longed to see the day the promised Messiah would come. She longed for that day! Her life was a perpetual Advent until the Annunciation (which we celebrate on March 25th, nine months before we celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th). Continually, Our Blessed Mother looked for the day of redemption. Then, at the Annunciation, she found out that she would be the one through whom salvation would be brought to all. She would be the one through whom the Messiah, the Deliverer, Emmanuel, would come to His people. What a daunting and scary thing lay before her! Yet, with deep and immense faith, she said yes, she gave her consent, her fiat, “Let it be done to me according to your word.” Today, we join Elizabeth in her praise of Mary and ask her to strengthen our own faith so we can be as generous to Almighty God as she was.
Celebrate! Raise you heads high for your Lord, the Savior is here! Glory to God for all He has done for you! He shatters the darkness with His light. He breaks the chains of sin that bind us! He offers hope in the midst of a despairing world! He brings joy to all! The world around us no longer has to be a place of distress and discord. It is redeemed by the Christ child! He is God among us. He is Mighty Counselor, Prince of Peace.
A gift from the Pastoral Staff of the parish is outside in the Narthex. Please take a copy of “Signs of Life: 20 Catholic Customs and their Biblical Roots” by Scott Hahn. If you have ever asked why do we have incense or why do we ask the saints to intercede for us or why do we light candles or why do we have Holy Water, this book is for you! Hahn explains these and other customs and beliefs in an easy to understand way! Enjoy this book during this New Year!
On behalf of Fathers Jason Adams, John Paul Heiser, and the whole Pastoral Staff of St. James, I wish each of you a Merry Christmas! Be assured that you are all included in my masses and prayers this day. May the Peace, Joy, and Love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with each of you and your families during this Christmas Season and throughout this next year.
Fr. Daniel F. Firmin