• All
  • Spiritual Food

Fourth Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Dear parishioners, “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” Christmas is upon us.  The celebration in which we remember the coming of the messiah into the world.  The messiah, or the anointed one was the long-awaited hope of Israel.  Yet, this Messiah, this infant that came into the world was greater than anyone could have imagined; he is Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.  God came into this world as a child, this fact, this revelation of God was un-imaginable for the Jews, and so it should be for our minds as well.  How can eternity be brought into time?  How can the All-Powerful One come as a vulnerable infant?  We can only receive this powerful, life changing truth with the gift of faith. And from here we can draw a great lesson: we can never box God in or put limits on what He can do.  This openness to the Lord’s plans comes from our confidence; faith, hope and love in God.  God can and will do more than we imagine.  Yet this is not about having an ‘open mind’ in the modern sense of the words.  No, His surprises and wonders have purpose and meaning.  It comes from His being: God is love.  The love of God is good, true, and beautiful beyond understanding.  We must be ‘open’ to the plans of God, but always be ready for marvelous plans which our minds will never be able to fully understand.  Jesus does not ask for understanding, rather He asks for child-like confidence and openness. This love will always draw us in with wonder, awe, thanksgiving, praise, and we in turn can give back love for love.  Let us get caught up then in the love of God.  By letting our mind and heart contemplate the mystery of Christmas — God coming to dwell among us — we can wonder at the incredible mercy of God.  This contemplation will be our preparation, the fuel of our longing for the return of Jesus, where we will marvel at the new things he will bring when he comes again.    Blessed Christmas to you all,   Father Philip

Third Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Dear parishioners, After last week’s big celebration of the Parish Marian Consecration on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the Church invites us anew to rejoice, as this Sunday is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word which means “Rejoice!”  In today’s readings, we hear the prophet Zephaniah exhorting God’s people to “shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!” (cf. Zephaniah 3:14). In the Second Reading, saint Paul tells us that he wants us to be happy and not only for a moment but “always happy in the Lord.” (cf. Philippians 4:4) Why should we rejoice? Why should we be happy? The Gospel tells us that a feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were thinking that John the Baptist might be the Christ. The people of Israel have been waiting for the Messiah for hundreds of years. And here comes a man who preaches the Good News. Could he be the Messiah? Clearly, John the Baptist declares that he isn’t the Christ and he announces the Good News of the coming of the one who will “baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (cf. Luke 3:16) Truly, the coming of Christ is a reason for joy!  How are we preparing for the coming of the Lord? Are we busy buying gifts, preparing the menu for the big Christmas meal, etc.? Surely, we await the celebration of Christmas when we commemorate the first coming of Christ, but if Christ comes in a minute, in an hour, later in the day, or tomorrow, am I ready to face Him and welcome Him with joy? Saint Paul tells us that “the Lord is very near!” (cf. Philippians 4:4) Let us continue to prepare the room of our hearts for the Lord to dwell. He gives himself to us in an ever-new way. It is also his joy to come into our hearts and make his dwelling there. As Zephaniah says in his prophecy: “He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.” (Zephaniah 3:18) Let us then rejoice for the Lord is near!  Br John-Van