This Sunday the Gospel introduces us to one of the important figures in Advent, John the Baptist. He quotes the great prophet of the Advent, Isaiah, calling upon us to “prepare the way of the Lord”, and that is the theme of advent, preparing. I’m sure you have started in your homes, especially those of you who have young children, to prepare for Christmas, decorations, lights, food shopping, present wrapping and hiding etc. Spiritually we do much the same thing. We get the home of our soul ready for the gift of the incarnation, the Christ child, our Savior who also comes as a present wrapped up this time in swaddling clothes, hidden at first in a lowly manger. John is also very harsh with those who are hypocritical in the ways of their faith. Perhaps this is a time for us to check any such areas in our lives too.
Thursday 8th is the Solemn Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, a Holy Day of obligation, and the following Monday is the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe which will be celebrated of course with great enthusiasm starting with Mañanitas (morning prayers to the Virgin. 4.30 am Cantos y Bailes and then the bilingual Coro Pelegrino at 5.30am-ish). If you have not been, try and join in for it is a wonderful heartfelt way to honor the Blessed Virgin. Mary of course is the other great figure of Advent. So we have an opportunity from Thursday 8th through to and including Monday 12th to offer special and or extra prayers for her intercession before her Son. Mary is very important to us here on this side of the Atlantic (or this side of the Pacific…whichever way you look at it…). Our Lady Immaculate is the Patroness of the United States, as Our Lady of Guadalupe, our blessed Mother is patroness of Mexico and of all the Americas. Let us all honor her patronage with ever stronger devotion to her Son, Jesus the Word of God made flesh.
God bless you, your families and the new Church year ahead,
Fr. Aidan Peter, CJ