Dec 6, 2018
From the desk of Fr Stephen
In today’s gospel we hear John the Baptist announcing to the people that they must repent. This is a theme that every prophet that ever lived in Israel announced to the people. Unfortunately, many of these prophets were killed. Evidently, people do not want to be reminded of their sinfulness, and so in order to shut the prophet up they are killed. This is, in fact, what happens to the Baptist himself. King Herod, but more than him, his wife, were tired of hearing about their own sinfulness. They were living in adultery, and John called them on it, and so Herod had John killed.
Repentance is a theme we hear more during Lent, but it is also appropriate now in Advent. Unfortunately, for many people they don’t think too much about the time of Advent. Christmas is already on everyone’s mind and the season of Advent is pushed to the background. But this season is actually an important time in our preparation for Christ’s actual coming. Let’s not forget that and let us use this season as preparation time.
When I was a kid, and I don’t know if this was just my family, but my mom insisted that we do some kind of penance during Advent. I remember when I was about 8 years old I had given up cookies. It was Christmas Eve and we were over at my grandmas. I saw all the Christmas cookies on the table there. Other people were coming in and helping themselves. I wanted one and so I asked my mom if it was OK. She said “Oh sure. Advent is over.” I was so happy and grateful to be able to have a cookie. It seemed like an eternity, but I made the effort. That cookie never tasted so good.
It is not always bad for us to offer something up to the Lord. A priest friend of mine once had a bad night’s sleep. He commented that it is good to have a bad night’s sleep every once in a while. It helps you appreciate all the good night’s sleep you get just a little more.
I was able to get away this past week. I spent some time in Biloxi and Murray, Kentucky. It is always nice to get away, but it is also nice to get back home. I hope you all had a good 1st Sunday in Advent. I happened to celebrate the feast at Murray State University where one of our priests is the campus minster there. It was nice to see the young adults attending mass. We hear so many horror stories of young people not wanting to go to mass, but there were about 100 students gathered together. It was really nice to see. My season of Advent has already been made better. Let us proceed forward together.