While the rest of our society is in the middle of the Yuletide season, we find ourselves, as Catholic Christians, in the liturgical season of Advent. As our days become more frenzied as we complete our secular checklist, the Church calls us to slow down, reflect and prepare for the coming of our Emmanuel. The key is to find a balance between the competing worlds. Instead of beating ourselves up whenever we watch a Christmas movie, go to a holiday party or celebrate a seasonal event, appreciate the moment and be thankful for the opportunity. Instead of confining Jesus to the walls of our church let us find Him in everything that is good this December.
This Third Sunday of Advent reminds us that this is also a time of joy. Nevermore, then this Sunday, known as Gaudete (which means rejoice) Sunday, do we take time to look forward and share a glimpse of Christmas. The pink/rose candle is lit on the Advent Wreath and the readings at mass this weekend are filled with joyful expectations. We take time in this season of repentance to celebrate Jesus
At the same time, it is still important to ready our souls for the coming of Christ. We do so by making time for prayer, individually and in community with one another. However, this requires us to spend quiet time with the Lord. While carving out time for Jesus may be difficult, it is essential in creating a relationship with Christ. Both parishes, St. Francis de Sales and Prince of Peace offer Adoration and/or Holy Hour to allow us that time. By attending one of our scheduled masses each Sunday, we share the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist with our parish families.
It is not too late to remove yourself from the hustle and bustle for an hour or so, the readings and prayers. Allow yourself to hear the voice of the Lord as you open your heart and calm your mind. Accept Christ in your life as you receive Him in the Holy Eucharist. If you do, you will leave refreshed in mind, soul, and body.
May you enjoy these final weeks before Christmas by embracing both seasons, with all their traditions, and in the process create a place where Christ is welcomed in your entire life. Then we can rejoice as our Emmanuel, which means “God with us”, can come to us and be our Light in the Darkness.
– Patrick J. Perkins