It is not very exciting to debate when the Church Year should begin or end. Maybe it doesn’t, especially since ending and beginning themes seem to sound alike and to flow into each other. But there is a Sunday when we come to the end of one year’s reading of a specific Gospel and turn our attention to another. That Sunday happens to be today as we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.
Today we conclude our reading from the Gospel of Matthew, which we began last Advent. Week after week we have been journeying through this Gospel and have heard it proclaimed in almost its entirety. Next week, on the First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new Church Year. We will change cycles in our Sunday Scripture readings and begin reading from the Gospel of Mark for a year. Mark’s picture of the person of Jesus will unfold before us.
With Christmas Day falling on a Monday this year, we will experience the shortest Advent season possible. The Fourth Week of Advent is only one day long – Sunday, Christmas Eve! And then mid-afternoon, our Christmas Eve Vigil Masses will begin as Advent gives way to Christmas. Since the season is so short, all the more reason to enter Advent as best as we can next Sunday. The season will be over before we know it and gone will be the opportunities to recognize and see the Lord present among us in our day to day activities. Let’s make a commitment to each other that we will enter this new season and new year as best we can and take time to listen for the voice of the Lord in the activities of the season.
With the First Friday of December coming up later this week, we will have our usual First Friday adoration of the Eucharist. Following the 7:00am Mass and continuing until 8:00am on Saturday, the Eucharist will be present on the altar for our adoration and quiet prayer. The church remains open throughout this time allowing people to come and go as they are able. If you have not experienced this prayer form before, set aside some time on Friday to just come and be still in the presence of the Lord. It is a great way to bring the concerns of our hearts to the Lord. It is a great way to step outside of all the activity that surrounds us at this time of year.
With the season of Advent beginning next Sunday, we have Bishop Ken Untener’s “The Little Blue Book” for the Advent and Christmas Seasons 2017-2018 available this weekend. These “Little Books” give us a wonderful guide in our personal, individual daily prayer throughout the major seasons of the Church Year. This year’s book for Advent and Christmas gives us six-minute daily reflections on the Infancy Narratives of Matthew. The six-minute program begins next Sunday, December 3rd, the First Sunday of Advent. These books – in both English and Spanish – are available in the Narthex.
On this final Sunday in November, we continue our prayerful month-long remembrance of those who have gone before us in faith. Our parish Book of Remembrance at the front of the Church near the Baptistery and the Easter Candle reminds us of our commitment to pray for the dead. Throughout this month, we continue our prayerful remembrance of those who now live with God. You are welcome to add additional names of your beloved dead in the Book of Remembrance during these final days of the month. May God welcome them into his glory.
Our parish bulletin is published by Diocesan Publications in Grand Rapids, MI. Their representative was on-site with us a few weeks ago. He visited with our advertisers to thank them for their support of our parish through their ad in the bulletin and to solicit new advertisers. Our parish bulletin is made possible through these ads. Please patronize our advertisers and tell them that you saw their ad in our Sunday bulletin.
We complete another Church Liturgical Year in fine form. As we celebrated Thanksgiving a few days ago and now the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this weekend, we thank God for all of the blessings that we have experienced this past year and look forward to what lies ahead. We pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy