My Dear Parish Family,
Advent is only three weeks away! If Advent is the time to prepare for Christmas, this must be the time to prepare for Advent! What needs to be done? Today’s Gospel spells it out for us in two action items.
First, be present. How can we receive an invitation if we are not there or not reachable or not known? “Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.” Here I am Lord, pick me, use me. I am yours. Be present.
Second, be ready. This is not idle time, waiting, this is active time, living a Christian life every single day. “Those who were ready went into the feast.” Beyond get ready, be ready.
Here is the ‘lineup’ at Padre Serra for things that will help us be known to Jesus and be ready for his invitation:
Little Books – one of my favorite things – will be available beginning next weekend in the narthex (church lobby). These little blue books offer a short, rich reading and reflection for each day of Advent. The perfect accompaniment to that first cup of coffee or tea in the morning and a great way to be known and present to Jesus in prayer and have hearts that are ready for his invitation.
Additionally, next weekend please find opportunities to support Life Centers and St. Vincent de Paul through poinsettia plants and See’s candies and help people in need at home and in third world counties through the Angel Tags on the trees in church and Concern America crafts in the courtyard. Give the gift of life through blood donation right here on campus next Sunday.
In recent weeks, I have been enjoying watching reruns of the Andy Griffith Show from the 1960’s. Invariably, the characters end up on the front porch, usually after ‘supper’ singing songs, or reminiscing, or recapping their day. It is peaceful presence they have together, a gentle connectedness found among family and friends. Let’s identify the ‘porch moments’ in our lives … coffee in the courtyard on Sunday mornings, hospitality after the penance service, dinner and a concert, finding Jesus at every turn.
Let’s set our focus on Jesus. Enjoy our family over the Thanksgiving holiday, seeing Jesus in each person gathered. Taking the opportunity to be attentive and focus on relationships. Let’s talk about our bucket lists and what in our life has given us great satisfaction. I think a lot of living well and being ready has to do with having our priorities in order. Articulate them.
The church gave us the whole season of Advent! An entire season to prepare, to make ready, to be about Jesus. Hallmark and the retail industry want us to think it is Christmas before Halloween. I am going with the wisdom of the Church. In the bigger life view, Advent is the time that helps us prepare to see God someday. I want to spend my Advent being present to the people around me, helping in small and big ways every day and with my heart set on Jesus in all I think, do and say.
On that eventual day when the Bridegroom comes, it is a matter of ready, set, go.
Parish Life Minister