Pastor’s Corner December 17, 2017
Today, we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday. “Gaudete” is the Latin word for “rejoice.” This weekend, we “lighten up” a little bit from the work of our Advent preparation to anticipate and rejoice in the birth of Jesus at Christmas. The Second Person of the Trinity, The Son, becoming man and dwelling among us is known as the Mystery of the Incarnation. The gift of the Grace of Christ continues to be present now in the Sacraments and the lives we lead in imitation of Jesus. The gift comes every year and is manifested in the change in our lives (“conversion”) to more closely configure our lives to Jesus’ life.
Considering this is a time when we should rejoice because of the events that give rise to our salvation, it is good to remember that our goal is to live our Christian vocation with joy. At times, we might feel like our faith is a burden, but in reality it truly frees us from slavery to sin and frees us to grow closer to God. So while remembering and preparing for the joy and peace of our life in Christ, let us be sure to continue to be vigilant and to make spiritual preparations for His coming at Christmas. We should always rejoice and give thanks to God for the gift of faith that he has given to each of us in our journey of life!
This year Christmas Day falls on a Monday. Both the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Day are Holy Days of Obligation, so over the holiday weekend we must attend Mass twice. The liturgies for the Fourth Sunday in Advent will be 4pm Saturday, and 8am and 10am Sunday morning. Christmas liturgies will be 4pm and 6pm Sunday evening, and 9am Christmas morning.
Message on Reception of Holy Communion at Christmas
Christmas is such a wonderful and joyous time. One of the reasons for this joy is that our church is more full of worshippers, both Catholic and non-Catholic, to celebrate the Mystery of The Incarnation. This coming together of so many to worship God is a wonderful thing to see and experience. Next weekend can be a wonderful experience for each of us.
With so many worshippers present and some who may not be Catholic, it may be helpful to recall what is necessary to be properly disposed to receive Holy Communion at Mass. If you have family coming into town who are not Catholic or do not practice their Catholic Faith, it would be good for you to make them aware of the guidelines for reception of Holy Communion.
Following the dictates of Sacred Scripture (1 Cor 11:27), the Church teaches that one should be properly disposed before receiving Holy Communion. In order to be properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, one must be Catholic and, after a reflective examination, not aware of having committed grave or serious sin. If a Catholic has committed grave or serious sin, then Sacramental Confession should made prior to reception of Holy Communion. One such serious sin is the failure to worship God by missing Mass on any Sunday or holy day of obligation without a serious reason.
If one is not Catholic or is a Catholic not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion, they should feel welcome to come forward and receive a blessing from the Minister of Communion. If one wants to receive a blessing, then they should simply let the minister know by placing their index finger over their mouth or crossing their arms over their chest so the minister will know to impart a blessing.
A similar statement on reception of Holy Communion will also be published in the bulletin next weekend. Have a Blessed Week as we prepare for Christ’s Coming!