A Message from Father William

As we enter the Season of Advent this weekend, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ commands us, “Be watchful! Be Alert!” In His love for us, He tells us to be prepared, “You do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13:33-37). Jesus warns the disciples that when He comes again, there will be many people who choose to ignore Him, to ignore the fact that He is our Savior, the source of all truth, love, beauty, peace, goodness, justice and mercy. Our Lord says, “May He not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”

So, how do we stay focused in Advent, preparing to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday and preparing for His Second Coming at the end of time? We stay focused by living the Christian virtues of faith, hope and love, realizing that all good things come from and lead back to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has said, when we are living the virtues, we become less preoccupied with our self, freeing us to respond to God with the “yes” of love that sets us free to say “yes” to being the disciples He calls us to be, children of God.

Discipleship, therefore, is much more than a feeling, but a conscious “yes” to entering into the love of God and doing His will. Discipleship involves following the Lord Jesus in word and deed. Saint Maximilian Kolbe has said that the essence of our love for God consists in fulfilling God’s will at every moment of our lives and submitting ourselves completely to His will. This includes: daily prayer; keeping His Commandments, summed up in the two Great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor; living the virtues of faith, hope and love; reading God’s Word in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition; and frequenting the Sacraments.

Pope Benedict XVI has said, “The essential meaning of the word adventus was: God is here, He has not withdrawn from the world, He has not deserted us. Even if we cannot see and touch Him as we can tangible realities, He is here and comes to visit us in many ways” (Homily, November 28, 2009). As God visits us this Advent Season, through His Church, Word and Sacraments, may we avoid our tendency to focus on ourselves, but rather focus evermore intently on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and His grace, in friendship and love, with gratitude that leads to joy. Pope Saint John Paul II said that “every year, Advent reminds us that grace – and that is God’s will to save man – is more powerful than sin.”

This Advent, then, we prepare once again to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ, His first coming into the world, and anticipate His Second Coming at the end of time. In between these two comings, we focus on His presence in our thoughts, words, prayers, His Church, Word and Sacraments, especially in the Holy Eucharist. God reminds us of this at every Mass, as we strive with reverence, in our manner of dress, speech and actions, to pray the Mass well. May we be evermore aware of God’s grace, His presence in our daily life, to allow Him to sanctify our words and deeds, that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ finds us watchful and alert in our daily conversation with Him and in our serving Him through acts of charity. Let us also ask for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, through whom God, Jesus Christ, entered the world, that she would help us to live this Advent well, watchful and alert.

With prayers for a blessed Advent,
Fr. William