A Reflection From Fr. Gerry
The sentence that stands out to me the most in todays’ scripture readings are the words
“Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” That was the task of John the Baptist. It was by no means an easy task and his method of doing so was through preaching. As far as we know, he had only one sermon and he preached that sermon wherever he went. The theme of his sermon was repentance.
However, in our language and in our culture the word repentance seems to have an irregular sound. We tend to associate it with hell and fire damnation preachers. I would certainly include some of those in our denomination, maybe not so much now but certainly in the past. I knew a few of them. This approach to religion, unfortunately, has a sad and lengthy history and I certainly would want nothing to do with that kind of religion and I hope you would all agree.
The question is, was John the Baptist that kind of preacher? And the answer is no. When John called people to repentance, he was not trying to manipulate them with fear and guilt. The fact is that he appealed to their reason. The Greek word metonia that is translated – repentance means to change ones’ mind, to try another point of view, to rethink some old ideas.
So, let me put this question to you, “Are you hounded by the sins of you past?” Most likely some of you are but there is no reason why you have to be. And I say that without exception. Wherever you are in life, whatever you have done in the past, you can always make a fresh start and we cannot and should not allow the sins of our past blackmail us for the rest of our lives. There is a way out, we call it repentance and repentance, leads to forgiveness and forgiveness leads to inner peace. This is the reason why the first part of our Eucharistic celebration is so important where we ask God to have mercy on us so we can experience his forgiveness.
The true peace of Christmas is found in quiet prayer, reconciliation and reaching out to help someone. A lot of people are crying out for help this year.
Let me conclude with this prayer, God of power and mercy, open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with Him. May God go with you.
READINGS FOR DECEMBER 6, 2020
SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
1st Reading—Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11—Speaking for God, Isaiah said, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her service is at an end.”
Responsorial Psalm: 85—“Lord, let us see your kindness, Lord, let us see your kindness.”
2nd Reading—2 Peter 3: 8-14—Peter wrote that God does not want anyone to perish but wants all to repent, for the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.
Alleluia—“Alleluia! Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths: all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Alleluia!”
Gospel—Mark 1: 1-8—Fulfilling what Isaiah foretold, John appeared in the desert as a messenger making ready the way of the Lord and proclaiming a baptism of repentance.
PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL
1) Let us pray for the Church:
Bless your people, O God. May we be a prophetic voice in our world on behalf of the poor and the abandoned.
2) Let us pray for good news for our parish:
Comfort your people, dear God. Bring comfort to those in pain, faith to those in doubt, courage to those in fear, and joy to those in grief.
3) Let us pray for world peace:
Ruler of the universe, give wisdom to those who exercise power.
Bring peoples together and cause violence and hunger to cease.
Keep those in the military in your tender care.
4) Let us pray for the sick and the suffering:
Healing and compassionate Lord, be with our brothers and sisters who are ailing. We pray especially for —
Tony & Betty Morici Dolores Cumming Elena Perea
Dot Tebelman Rod Mersino Kimber Fox Katy Powers
Ron & Andy Rubin Joyce Stewart Jon Barber Marie Klebba
Sue Yates Debbie Giesler Florence Mishler John Benvenuti
Sam Davis Joyce Delasko Fred Sikarski
And for all who have asked for our prayers.
5) Let us remember the dead:
Carry our beloved, O God, in your eternal embrace. Let none of our dear ones be parted from you, especially —
(5:00 Mass) Frederick & Mariah Andre
(8:30 Mass) Nicolo Genovese
(10:30 Mass) Carmelita Lopez Keyes
6) Let us offer our personal intentions now to the Lord in a moment of silence: (PAUSE)
Give us faith in your love for us, O Lord, and patience with those around us. Calm our anxious hearts.
We pray to the Lord…
ANNOUNCEMENTS – December 6, 2020
- All gifts and gift cards are due next Sunday, December 13th by noon for our Christmas distribution. We appreciate you bringing them in on time.
- Lectors, Eucharistic ministers, Mass stewards, altar servers and ushers, please contact Julie by email and let her know where you can help
- We are having a Blood Drive on Wednesday, December 16th from 10-4 in Hardy Hall.
- Mass for the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, December 8th will be at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- There are still some Little Blue books for Advent on the table in the gathering area, please stop and pick one up
- Please come to our Advent Day of Reflection next Sunday, December 13th at 2 p.m. in the Church. Our speaker will be Mary Wilkerson speaking on “Hope for the Future.” This is a family event and we hope you will attend.