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.
Last weekend we concluded our reading from the Gospel of Mark, which we began last Advent. Week after week we have been journeying through this Gospel and have heard it proclaimed in almost its entirety. Our Gospel reading today comes from the Gospel of John. We see Jesus, the true King of the universe, on the cross. Real power does not come from grasping and hoarding, but in letting go. In letting go and offering his life for us, Jesus conquered our greatest enemies – sin and death. 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 Luke for a year. Luke’s picture of the person of Jesus will unfold before us.
With Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday this year, we will experience a short Advent season. The Fourth Week of Advent is only two days long – the Fourth Sunday and then Christmas Eve on Monday. 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 Church year as best we can and take time to listen for the voice of the Lord in the activities of the season.
Thank you to all who were able to join us for our Thanksgiving Day Mass last Thursday. That Mass is among my favorite Masses of the year. We schedule only one Mass on Thanksgiving and it gives us a chance to come together as a single community to offer our thanks and praise to God. The choir lifted up our hearts and led us in our sung prayer in marvelous ways. Since there is no obligation for us to be there, everyone was there because they wanted to be there. It was an excellent way to begin a day of thanks and gratitude.
In addition to providing copies of the St. Joseph Missal 2019, we are also happy to make available an assortment of Advent devotional books this year, including the “Little Blue Books for Advent/Christmas.” Both English and Spanish editions of the “Little Books” are available this weekend. These devotional books give us brief daily reflections during Advent and Christmas and then invite us “to spend some quiet time with the Lord.” The various programs begin next weekend on the First Sunday of Advent, December 2nd. With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer. All of these different resources 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