Pastor’s Corner – December 31, 2017
This weekend, we celebrate the Holy Family: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Our focus is on the Human Nature of Jesus. Not only did he become flesh and is like us in all things except sin, but he grew up in a family and was raised by Mary and Joseph. This celebration reminds us that Jesus is fully human like us, subject to all the struggles and trials of life just as we are, and was willing to give Himself to die on a cross for our salvation. We are reminded that we can imitate Him in all things, especially completely giving our life over to God, by the power of God’s Grace!
This weekend, we might also say: “Happy Mary, Mother of God Day!” instead of “Happy New Year.” That may sound a bit strange, however that is the feast day that we celebrate on January 1st each year. The celebration is not as much about our Blessed Mother (although her unique role in Jesus’ life and her willingness to consent to God’s Will is something for us to both appreciate and imitate), as it is about the fact that Jesus is indeed God in His Divine Nature and therefore, Mary is the Mother of God. The celebration of this feast is intended to strengthen our faith about the two natures of Jesus (both divine and human), to celebrate the fact that God Himself has visited us on earth, and to properly understand the special role our Blessed Mother was given in God’s plan of salvation. Because of its importance, January 1st is usually a holy day of obligation. However, this year because it falls on a Monday, we are NOT obliged to attend Mass that day. Our schedule is Mass at 9am January 1st.
As we continue to celebrate Christmastide, we will celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord next Sunday. Traditionally, this feast was celebrated on January 6, ending the “twelve days” days of Christmas. However, we now celebrate it liturgically on the Sunday between January 2 and January 8. “Epiphany” comes from a Greek verb meaning “to reveal.” Therefore, the Epiphany celebrates God’s revealing or manifesting Jesus’ identity as true God, Messiah, and Savior of the world. It not only commemorates the fact that Jesus came to save us, but that God revealed the identity of Jesus to the world. The Gospel reading for the day is from the second chapter of Matthew, where the magi from the east seek the newborn “King of the Jews,” and of course, find Him and pay Him homage. We are reminded in the Epiphany that God not only sent his Incarnate Son as our Lord and Savior, but that He did so in a way that we could recognize and understand, and then follow Him in the way of Truth and Peace. Like the magi, our mission is to seek Him, come to know Him, and pay homage to Him not only with our words, but also by living our lives in the way Jesus taught us.
The Christmas Season will come to a close next Monday, January 8, when we will celebrate the Baptism of The Lord and are reminded of our own baptism and the Grace God has given to us to lead a life in imitation of Jesus and renew our resolve to cooperate with the Grace we have received. Let us continue to celebrate the Christmas Season this week and next. God has given us this time and these celebrations for us to remember the Good News of our Salvation and we should enjoy and cherish every moment of it. For the most part, the world will return to business as usual the day after Christmas and January 2. After our Advent vigilance, preparation and anticipation let us take full advantage of rejoicing and growing closer to Jesus during the Christmas Season.
Many Thanks for the beautiful Christmas Liturgies
After next weekend, we will we will return to “Ordinary Time” liturgically, changing from white to green for our liturgical color. With the beginning of Ordinary Time, we thank all those who made our celebration of Christmas so beautiful. The music was wonderful throughout, and we thank our musicians and singers: The Adult Choir and their director J.P. Porrier; our youth choir and their director, Rafael Henry; and Marla Faust/Stacy Caffery. Our Altar Society did a wonderful job in decorating the church, and they were coordinated by Deacon Joubert. We thank our various ministers at the liturgies, our readers, extraordinary ministers, servers and sacristans who volunteered their time and made adjustments to their personal schedules to serve us. We thank those who donated to the flower fund, making it possible to beautifully decorate our sanctuary and church. And of course, our wonderful office staff and maintenance crew did a great job over the course of the holidays. Again, thanks to all!
A Happy and Blessed New Year to you and all your loved ones!!