My dear friends,
As you may already know, I spent many years working in retail. In the midst of the busy Christmas shopping season I can recall around this time looking forward to it all being over – the craziness of the season. Christmas day would eventually come, and I was grateful that the day had finally arrived – because I knew that I made it through another season. Add on to that the fact that I had been listening to Christmas music in the store from the beginning of November and I will admit that I was done. Christmas day was a day of rest, and it all began again on Boxing Day. Yes, we would attend Christmas Mass together as a family, yet the true meaning of the season was somehow lost. This was the reality of my life. That was then, and this is now.
This year for some reason is especially different. Yes, the Christmas music has been on the radio since the beginning of November, yet I am in the car less these days, and in the shopping mall even less. While everything has changed and slowed down in the midst of the pandemic, somehow I am in awe that it is December the 12th, and I ask myself where has the year gone? Now, here we are, at the third Sunday of Advent, the midpoint of the season of preparation for the coming of Christ into our hearts at Christmas, and we speak of the rose candle of Joy. I ask myself what is it that I am feeling? Does joy come to my mind? Does joy come to your mind?
Just like the season of Lent all those months ago, this is a very different season of Advent. Yet there is something very different between the two. We are able to gather together at St. Julia for the celebration of Mass, the source and summit of our faith. For that reason, I feel a sense of joy. For us as disciples, it is at the Mass that we are fed with the Word of God and the Eucharist, the real presence of our Saviour, body, blood, soul, and divinity. It is what is keeping us going through these times, as people of hope, peace, love, and yes, joy. Some may be reading this thinking I have not been to Mass in nine months. Imagine that, nine months. Yet I know that you are home safe, longing to return to Mass. I rejoice in the fact that I know you are safe. I know that this too shall pass, and that one day we will all be one again at St. Julia. And that is what the Eucharist and Communion is – one – one with Christ.
Once again, I remind us not to dwell on the past or to worry about the future. That is a sure way to suck the joy out of the present moment. As Dr. Josephine Lombardi put it recently, worry is the thief of the present moment. When we live in the moment and count our blessings for what we have and the gift of our faith, we can live in the peace of Christ, the peace that Christ, and I, want for each and every one of you. We look forward to when we can all gather together as one. And in a more profound way, perhaps like never before, we wait with great expectation for the coming of Christ into our hearts this Christmas.
May we be ready to welcome our Saviour with open arms.
Please, please know of my continued prayers for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, and may God continue to bless each of you and those that you love.
From Our Pastor