A Message from Father William

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday this Christmas, He invites us through
His Holy Word to truly live our Catholic Christian faith (Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85; 2
Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8), faith that changes us and conforms us to God who is love.
For most of Israel’s religious leaders, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who came to be
baptized by John in the Jordan River (Mark 1:1-8), this did not happen – they knew
their faith, but it did not change them. That’s why Saint John the Baptist warns them
that simply knowing or appearing to know your faith was not enough – they needed
to repent of their sins and to let their faith change their hearts.

To live our Catholic Christian faith, we need to let it change our hearts. As disciples
of Jesus Christ, this means that our faith leads to a personal friendship with Jesus, to
not only know about Him, but to know, love and serve God now so that by His grace
we will be eternally happy with Him in Heaven. The Eucharist, Holy Mass, is central
to living our faith – yet, even at Mass we can become casual about living our faith and
not really pray the Mass, which then affects our attitude, words, manner of dress and
actions. Before the pandemic, many people had become so casual and indifferent that
fewer than half of all Catholics and Protestants nationwide were going to church on
Sundays (many students in Catholic schools and religious education were not attending Sunday Mass), for reasons that did not include illness, the weather or work. Since the pandemic, which we’re getting through by God’s grace, even fewer Christians are attending church. Let’s keep praying for and inviting families, friends and others to return to Mass, relieved of anxieties and worries. Since our U.S. Constitution and First
Amendment state that we have the freedom of religion, let’s also remember that we the people, and not politicians, should decide whether we go to church or stay home and watch the Mass virtually.

By virtue of our baptism in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we’re called to live the faith that we profess in word and deed, to prepare the Way of the Lord (Isaiah 40; Mark 1; Matthew 7:21-28 and 25:1-46). So, we: pray; read the Bible (not just at Mass); keep the two great Commandments, love of God and love of neighbor; frequent the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession; proclaim the Truth with love about God’s gift of life, family and marriage; bear the fruits of His Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity (Galatians 5; John 15:16); and realize that Jesus Christ is present at every moment, making every moment matter (Matthew 28:16-20). If we
forget this and give in to sin, then we need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and
mercy as we strive for holiness (Mark 1; 2 Peter 3:8-14).

As we strive to live our Catholic Christian faith, let us pray to God each day, preparing
the Way of the Lord in our hearts and thereby repelling the devil and discouragement. As we prepare to celebrate Jesus Christ’s birthday and His Second Coming (at an hour and day we do not know), let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saint Clement and all the saints to help us prepare with an awareness of God’s presence at
every moment, allowing Him to sanctify those moments, living the virtues of faith, hope and love, bearing the fruits of the Spirit, praying to the Father, through the Son and in the Spirit, more and more conformed to the heart of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, as He leads and guides us to life everlasting in Heaven. Amen.

With peace and prayers in Christ,
Fr. William