First Sunday of Advent

Dear Friends and Parishioners of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum.

Every year we celebrate Advent. The liturgical celebrations, the traditional Christmas preparations of our diverse cultures, and the cadence of our common awareness as we look forward to Christmas are similar as in the past. The liturgical cycle is the same, but the energy, the timing and the spirit are different. Though we may say that the spirit of Advent is with us, yet I am certain that it was not the same Advent spirit we experienced a year ago. The life of the Church evolves. Our parish evolves. Our families evolve. Everything evolves! Except God.  He never changes. The many changes we experience in the process of life purify our faith, bring us new hope, and teach us to love immensely. This is what the spirit of Advent offers us as we prepare for the joyful celebration of Christmas.

In the long run, it is important that we remain reflective of this reality. There is an aspect of the Advent Season that challenges us to see the details of God’s involvement in our lives. As we rise from the oppressive situation of Covid19 and as we struggle to stand on our feet again to engage in the normal social life that we are craving for, I wonder if we have truly grasped God’s message to us. Jesus said, “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.” (Lk 21:36) Over the last two years, we stayed awake and we prayed, but are we confident before God? I imagine that this confidence that Jesus was talking about is an attitude of being trustfully resigned to the power and presence of God. This holy resignation means that God can restore what we have lost, that He is capable to hold us up when we are feeling powerless and that He is ever faithful to accompany us on our pilgrim journey towards eternal life.  Our confidence in God is a ratification of our resignation to a faith that is indicative of the revelation of His presence in our lives!

These coming days of Advent will direct us to the initial chapter of God’s love story with all of humankind. Whether we like it or not, we are part of that story. We play a very important role in the unveiling of His faithfulness to a generation that often struggles to see the movements of His Providential care. Knowing that the cycle of this Advent Season is like those of past years, our task is to identify the unique difference of this year’s Advent experience that will prepare us well for the celebration of Christmas. What is it that we would like to see change in our lives as we come closer to the day of Jesus’ Birth? In what way would we choose to allow God to be the center of our choices and priorities in the coming days?

Lastly, please pray for our newly received candidates of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) and the second-year Confirmation candidates. They will receive the Sacraments next year; and it is important that we provide for them a spiritual companionship that may bring them inspiration and enthusiasm as new disciples of Jesus Christ.

Thank you again for supporting our ministries at Saint Jerome Parish. Please note that our Zelle account and other forms of electronic giving are the best platforms for us to consistently record your Sunday contributions to our ministries.

Be well. God bless you.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,