Season of Waiting and Hoping

 In Pastor's Notes-Fr. Ritche

On this 3rd Sunday of Advent, the Church coincidentally celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe – the event of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to Juan Diego, who is now a Saint. If one were to look at the icon of Our Lady, she is depicted as a pregnant woman, waiting to give birth – making her a perfect image of Advent as this season is about hopeful waiting for the coming of Christ.

But what does “to wait” mean? There’s nothing passive intended in this particular phrase, rather it demands action on our part. It is a dynamic state of being in expectation and serving. Notice that our Gospel this weekend has people asking John the Baptist what they should do as they wait for the Christ. John simply told them to do something good – help, support, be kind, share, and give.

What a great reminder for us on what to do during this season of waiting and hoping for the event commemorating the coming of Christ. What should we do? Here are some suggestions:

Pray. Prayer not only strengthens our relationship with God, but it also allows us to make room for God in our lives. In the secular world, Advent has taken on a different meaning. It has become a time to be busy – cooking, shopping, decorating, partying and the like. Before we know it, Christmas has come and gone, and we have never entered into what this great feast really means. The best way to prepare for Christmas is to enter into prayer where we reflect on God’s goodness to us.

Be grateful. Gratitude must always be the first response of every single believer. Christmas reminds us of that beautiful gift from the Father – the gift of His Son. This season reminds us of what love is – “Not that we loved God, but God loved us first, and that He sent His Son.” What a privilege! What a gift!

Gratitude also reminds us that all we have is a gift from God. We do not deserve anything, but out of God’s love, He has given us what we have.

Give. This season is associated with sharing. We share the blessings that God has given us. I have personally witnessed how, we, in this parish community have stepped up when help is needed not only during Christmas, but all year round. From helping in our outreach programs to supporting each other when someone is experiencing difficulty and generously donating for our parish operations. As I said in my letter to you a week ago, I am appealing to your generous hearts for two things:

–  Like last year, I am again asking for a Christmas donation of $50. If your gift can be more, it will be appreciated.

–  Prayerfully consider renewing and increasing your Sunday contribution by 10%.

As we wait together for the coming of the Christ, Mary serves as a model for what this means. Like Mary, let us always be in a posture of prayer, magnifying God for His wonderful work and sharing the good news of Christ by the way we live our lives.

And I end with the words of St. Paul in our Second Reading this weekend:
Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

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