• Fr. Daniel Gifford

THE HOUSE OF THE HUMBLE CARPENTER

"Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!" These words of the psalm this weekend clearly refer to the Temple. But, as we consider the various possible meanings of the word "house" (in English, at least), let us allow ourselves to take a moment and wonder at the fact that there was a time when the house of the Lord could have referred to the home of a humble carpenter named Joseph. That is a fitting reflection for the beginning of Advent. As we prepare our own homes for the celebration of Our Lord’s Incarnation,

consider how the home of the carpenter prepared for the arrival of the Christ Child. Outwardly, it may have seemed like things were in disarray in their lives. But, the Lord was doing a glorious thing, wrapped in a quite messy mystery. Joseph was a man of great faith, but he was not another immaculate conception. He was burdened by the effects of original sin, like you and I. Yet, boldly he received Mary into his home, as the angel commanded him, and began preparing that home to welcome this Child who was not his own by blood, but would look to him to be a true father figure. As the Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen reflects, “In Matthew, Joseph is not described as having begotten Our Lord and in Luke, Our Lord is called: ‘By repute, the Son of Joseph.’ (Luke 3:23) He meant that Our Lord was popularly supposed to be the Son of Joseph. Combining the two genealogies; in Matthew, Our Lord is the Son of David and of Abraham; He is, in Luke, the Son of Adam and the seed of the woman God promised would crush the head of the serpent. Men who are not moral, by God’s Providence, are made the instruments of His policy; David, who murdered Urias, nevertheless is the channel through which the blood of Abraham floods into the blood of Mary. There were sinners in the family tree, and He would seem to be the greatest sinner of all when He would hang upon the family tree of the Cross, making men adopted sons of the Heavenly Father.” (Life of Christ) As we prepare our hearts to receive the Lord more deeply into our lives, let us ponder the mystery that He truly wants to enter into the sometimes messy reality of our lives and of our family. He enters as Redeemer and Savior, but in a very real way, He enters also as Brother. May Joseph pray for us that we may truly prepare, not only our physical homes by all the practical, material preparations we may be engaged in, but also and most importantly the inner home of our hearts. You may choose to take up a spiritual reading as one possible aspect of that spiritual preparation. You can find some great choices on the mobile library cart that sits outside Harkrader Hall, or even pop into the Saint Jerome for even more options to choose from. In the corner of that room, you may notice a statue of Saint Joseph (front cover). May he remind us all of the need to prepare our hearts and our homes in faith. SOON TO BE BLESSED: By now, you may well know the news, which broke right after last weekend’s bulletin went to the printers (because of the early deadline, due to the holidays), so I haven’t had a chance to mention it yet in the context of the bulletin. But, it was recently announced that Archbishop Sheen (quoted above) will be beatified by a papal representative at our Cathedral in Peoria on December 21, 2019, just over 100 years after he was ordained a priest in the same Cathedral. After this momentous celebration, he will be known as Blessed Fulton Sheen, leaving him in the final step before being officially finally declared a saint. May his teaching and intercession continue to benefit and enrich many, all for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Please visit celebratesheen.com for more information about events surrounding this great occasion. GIRLS’ TEC WEEKEND: Next weekend, in Peterstown, there will be another TEC (Teens Encounter Christ) retreat weekend for girls ages sixteen and up. I would strongly encourage any young women in that age range who have not yet experienced a TEC weekend to consider joining in on this experience. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to talk to me or visit Peterstowntec.com, where you can sign up for the weekend. AN EVENTFUL SUNDAY: Next Saturday and Sunday (December 7th and 8th), our CCW will be hosting their annual Cookie Walk, after all of the Masses. This event is always a big hit. Meanwhile, after the 10:30 Mass, we also have our monthly Second Sunday Stay and Play. Since these two great events are colliding, Stay and Play will be a little different from usual. Rather than having separate refreshments in the gym, the fellowship and refreshments will be focused around the hall & the Cookie Walk, which will even include a small play area for the kids. Meanwhile, the gym will also be open for older children who want to go play basketball or other more active activities, with a few adults appointed to supervise. These joyful moments for the whole parish family give us all much to be grateful for!


In Christ through Mary,

Fr. Gifford

St. Louis, pray for us!

Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!

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