Week of December 11, 2016

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John the Baptist is in prison.  He hears about the work of Christ and sends his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Responding to John’s disciples, Jesus gave evidence from his works rather than words.  Wherever he encountered people, the result was transformation:  the blind saw, the deaf heard, people were restored to the fullness of their humanity in a community of love.

The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, a day of rejoicing.  It is a time to rejoice in who God is.  This Sunday would be a good time to listen again to what Pope Francis told us in the Joy of the Gospel.  The opening paragraph proclaims: “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.  Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness.  With Christ joy is constantly born anew.”  That might be a modern rendition of the message Jesus gave to John’s disciples.

Today’s celebration of Gaudete Sunday asks us to judge our faith in the light of Jesus’ message.  What does the salvation we hope to see look like?  Are we waiting for the decimation of our evil enemies or do we long for the transformation of sinners – including ourselves?  Many in today’s world seem ready to offer the first option.  It is the general solution offered by prisons, war and every other form of vengeance.  The second option is much costlier.  It requires real love to hope for the transformative salvation of those who have done us harm, and it requires humble courage to look for our own conversion.

Gaudete Sunday invites us to rejoice in all that is good around us.  It challenges us to recognize the presence of God in everything that promotes freedom and communion.  The more we participate in Jesus’ work of transformation, the more we will understand that we have encountered God with us and need not look for another.  (Taken from Sr. Mary M. McGlone’s reflection in Celebration)

It was good to have Bishop Johnston with us last Sunday night.  He gave us a very personal talk about himself, how he values his family, and his call to priesthood and being a bishop.  I have been told by those who work with him that he has a very busy schedule.  It was nice of him to spend some time with us.  One of the challenges Bishop Johnston sees in our diocese is a need for healing and uniting.  At the end of the evening many of those who attended thought he was a good man for the job.  He did mention that he looks forward to coming back and celebrating Sunday masses with us.

Remember the Reconciliation Services being offered this week.

  • Sunday, December 11th, Presentation Parish
  • Wednesday, December 14th, Holy Spirit Parish
  • Thursday, December 15th, St. Robert Parish in Blue Springs

All of the services begin at 7:00 p.m.

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