Hopefully, the beginning of Advent 2020 has been blessed for you. How is your life is different during this time? Did you make any Advent’s resolutions? Do you follow them? Is your individual and family life focused more on Jesus and on His coming in the mystery of His Incarnation? Are you making straight your paths to know Jesus better? Are you encouraging others to know, love and follow Jesus? How am I suppose to do that???
Let me tell you a story. A young priest, just after his priestly ordination, was sent to work in his first parish. He was full of joy, enthusiasm, and passion. Before his first homily he went to the pastor and asked him: “What should I preach about?” The reply he got was, “Preach about ten minutes.”
We love short and sweet homilies. Even when the homily is not well prepared, or is given by the priest with the foreign accent but is about 10 minutes it’s forgivable. Many of us don’t like a long Mass celebration. When Mass is longer than 1 hour, we look at our watch, and think how to get out of the church before others. We love, I’d say INSTANT Mass. Why is that?
How come we can spend over 4 hours playing golf and having fun, even if we play badly? 😉 How come we can sit in one place for two hours or more and listen with joy to classical music or another concert, or football or baseball game, but we cannot do the same when it comes to listening to the word of God at Mass?”
One of the things is, I believe, that people need to have a personal experience of God in their lives before they can hear the word of God with joy. We can spend four hours on a golf course because we love it. We can spend hours listening to a concert because we love that music.
Proclaiming the word of God to people who do not know God in a personal way and who do not have a personal relationship with God, is like reading poetry to people who do not know what poetry is all about. They get bored very easily and are in a hurry to leave.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not only about you the listeners, the recipients of the Word of God. It’s also about us, priests and deacons because sometimes we do not preach well, we do not spend enough time to know the word of God personally and we do not preach the Word of God with enough energy, love, and passion.
How can we move from a situation of being bored by the Word of God to a situation of joy, enthusiasm and passion in hearing the Word of God? How can we become a real joyful missionary disciple?
I think John the Baptist, who came to prepare the ways for the Lord, would be a great example for us. Before he started proclaiming that Great News, John personally went into the desert. In the desert the word of God came to him, and after John left the desert, he went about proclaiming the faith. This is an invitation for all of us during this season of Advent: go to the desert – listen to God, when you do, He will speak to you, when you hear His voice you will be ready to proclaim His message to others.
Do not think that our salvation is completed. We still have our lives to live and we have our part to play before that Joy of Salvation is experienced fully.
P. S. I already have been asked about our Christmas celebrations during this COVID scenario. Let me share with you our plans. We have been planning our Eucharistic celebrations for Christmas Eve at 4 pm, 6 pm , and at midnight. On Christmas Day we will have only one Mass at 10 am. How many people at Mass will be allowed? With registration form or not? We still don’t know. It depends, on the new directives that would come from the state authorities. Hopefully they will change nothing with our strategy. So, please read the upcoming bulletins, our parish website, and follow us on our Facebook page to be updated. I’m pretty sure, in the middle of December we should have more specific information.
May God make this season of Advent and your life joyful and blessed.