A word from Pope Francis ~ “I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity.”
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 Saturday this year, we will experience the longest Advent season possible. The Fourth Week of Advent is a full week long – Sunday to Saturday. Even though Advent this year is a full season, it is important to enter Advent as best as we can next Sunday. Since the season is normally short – only four weeks – it 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.
In addition to providing copies of the St. Joseph Missal 2022, we are also happy to make available 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, November 28th. With all of the activity coming up in the weeks ahead, here is a good opportunity to keep our balance through individual, personal prayer. Both of these resources are available in the Narthex.
This weekend we have the opportunity to join with the other parishes of our diocese in participating in the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. Since 1970, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has been our church’s compassionate and effective response to the needs of low-income people in our own diocese and throughout our country. CCHD funds more than 300 projects each year, helping people to work within their own communities to create jobs, provide affordable housing, ensure decent wages and organize for change. CCHD is a practical way for us to respond to Pope Paul VI’s exhortation, “If you want peace, work for justice.” CCHD envelopes are included in the envelope packs mailed to our homes or you may use one of the pew envelopes and mark it CCHD. Please deposit your donation in the collection basket at the entrance and the exit of the church. You may also make a donation on our parish website. Thank you in advance for your generous support of this program.
As we make our journey through the month of 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 remember and pray for our beloved 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.
This Thursday – Thanksgiving Day! A wonderful way to begin the day is by celebrating Eucharist with our parish family. We will gather in-person or virtually through the live-streamed Mass to give thanks to our God for the many gifts with which we have been blessed. As is our custom on civil holidays, we will celebrate a single Mass on Thanksgiving morning at 9:00am in the church. Please join us as you are able.
Please note that our Parish Office will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and on Friday. Weekday Mass on Friday will be celebrated at 8.15am, our Saturday morning time.
We complete another Church Liturgical Year as well as can be expected in these difficult times. As we celebrate the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe this weekend and Thanksgiving this Thursday, we thank God for all of the blessings that we have experienced this past year and pray for better days ahead. We wish all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day and weekend. As always, I pray that God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy