Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
We had fun making this weekend’s bulletin a “choose your own adventure,” with a 4th Sunday of Advent cover and a Christmas Day cover. So we have two windows and two mysteries to reflect upon.
First, let us conclude our Advent journey. The beginning of the Gospels (specifically the Infancy Narratives of Matthew and Luke) mark the conclusion of that Old Testament longing for the Promised Messiah. A star rises in the heavens as a beacon, calling to His people in the words of the old carol “Come, let us adore Him.” Yet, how striking it is to consider for whom this beacon shines! Who is being beckoned to meet the Savior? Not just the people of Israel, who had been promised and had been awaiting Him. The star was the symbol that prompted the Magi, representatives of the Gentiles, to begin their journey to meet the King. The later prophecies of the Messiah included the reality that salvation would be opened to the nations. Right as the book closes on the Old Testament and opens on the New, the fulfillment of this prophecy begins. May we take up our call to shine His light to the whole world, to be a beacon to the nations, inviting all to come to adore the King who comes to set us all free from sin and offer us the Hope of Heaven.
AT LONG LAST….
Merry Christmas! Waiting for those four weeks (or in the case this year, three weeks and a day) gives us barely a glimpse of the long wait of God’s people for their King. This helps us to appreciate the gift we have. When I was a child, rather than a deep gratitude for what I had been given, it was far too easy to focus on what gifts I got and what I didn’t, of all the things I wanted that year. As we grow up, we learn the value of giving over receiving. Yet, as we continue to deepen our understanding, we might come back to revisit our old appreciation of receiving as well. We have to learn to receive. Christmas calls us to give, in imitation of Christ who came to give His life for us. And yet, it also calls us to learn to receive. As we kneel with Mary and Joseph before the manger and adore the Child, are we not deeply humbled at the thought of how this greatest of gifts is so far beyond anything we could ever give or earn?! How awesome to wonder at the mystery of love, that God meant what He said, in a more literal and profound a way than we could have imagined, that in this promised Messiah, in this Little Child… God is with us! How great a gift we have been given!
EPIPHANY CELEBRATION: We have so many gifts with which we have been blessed. It is fitting that we prepare to have a celebration, to honor these gifts of the Lord. The Solemnity of the Epiphany (January 6-7), the feast toward which the Twelve Days of Christmas are counting up, will be the perfect time to do this. The Epiphany recalls a number of different moments in which the glory of God was made known in Jesus Christ, but the primary one people generally call to mind is the arrival of the Magi in Bethlehem. They came to lay their gifts before the King. Thus, it is a good time to reflect on all the gifts we have received and how we can use them for the sake of His Kingdom, thus making them a gift back to Him. With this recollection of the arrival of the Magi comes the tradition of blessing homes on the Epiphany. So, along with our reception and open house, after all of the Masses, we will bless the facilities we have been blessed with, piece by piece. It will be a true open house, so you would be welcome to visit any of the spaces after any Mass, but in case you are interested in planning to be present for a specific blessing, the schedule will be as follows:
• After 4:00 pm Mass, Saturday - Family Faith Formation classrooms, St. Charles Borromeo Catechetical Prep Room, and Gym (including teen Open Gym Social to welcome Caylee, our new Youth Coordinator)
• After 7:30 am Mass, Sunday - Harkrader Hall and Kitchen
• After 9:00 am Mass - Atrium (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd environment)
• After 10:30 Mass - St. Jerome Room and Parish Offices
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!