Rejoice In The Lord

Dear Friends in Christ,

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near. Phil 4:4-5

This is the Entrance Antiphon (Introit) for our masses this Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. We hear about rejoicing in our prayers, readings, and music of the Mass. We also see the rose-colored vestments and the rose candle of our Advent wreath lit. We rejoice, not merely because Christmas is near, but more so because the coming of the Lord Jesus in glory at the end of time is nearer than when we began our journey of faith. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come! This Weekend is also Gift Giving Sunday in our parish. This is a wonderful tradition dating back to the beginnings of our parish. Each year, new parishioners and visitors are awe-struck at the mountains of gifts representing the great love and generous spirit of our parish families for those less fortunate.

As wonderful as the mountain of gifts is, we know that these Christmas gifts are insufficient to express our true love. Buying, wrapping, and giving a gift is a lovely gesture. Yet, in short order, the wrapping paper will end up in the trash and after the toy has been played with for a while, it too will be laid aside and ultimately discarded. What we truly desire for others is that gift that will last a lifetime and then an eternity! A gift that never fades, shrinks, or goes out of style. A gift that always lifts the spirit and gives joy. This Christmas and this New Year, we again have the opportunity to give such a gift, something that will truly last and truly make a difference. The gift that each of us can give is the gift of our Catholic Faith, our faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world!

If you have non-Catholic family members or friends, invite them to come to Mass with you one Sunday. If you have grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, write them a letter from your heart describing to them how important and fulfilling your Catholic Faith is and how you wish for them to experience the same joy. If you are a parent and are concerned about your child’s future, sacrifice to provide them a Catholic education. If you want your marriage to be richer and more satisfying, ask your spouse to pray with you and for you as you pray with them and for them! If you have a best friend with whom you can share anything, remember to also share your love for God. If you have neighbors, friends or co-workers who do not have a church home or do not practice any particular faith, share your faith and our parish with them. Be a living, faithful witness of Jesus Christ, live your Catholic Faith “out loud,” in private and in public, do not mask it or hide it. Extend the invitation to them, offer your prayers for them, or ask them to pray for you. Most importantly, simply live your faith in Jesus with joy each day, which is the beginning of sharing the gift of faith.

There are a lot of people searching for God and they do not know where to turn or what to do. Many do not even realize that it is God for whom they are searching. They just know there has to be more to life than what they are experiencing. They know they want peace, satisfaction, meaning and belonging. They want to love and be loved. You and I are so greatly blessed in that we know that God is the answer. We know that when a person has God, they have everything. This Christmas, this new year, give the best and most wonderful gift of all. Give the gift of Jesus Christ. After all, He is still as always, “the reason for the season”!

Have a holy Advent! Rejoice!

In pace Christi,

Fr. Troy