Message from Fr. Mike

December 8th, 2019

Second Sunday of Advent

THE CALL TO REPENT AND RECONCILE

My Fellow Parishioners, We will meet John the Baptist in two Advent Gospels, both from the Gospel of Matthew.

We will meet John the Baptist in the Second Sunday of Advent and in the Third Sunday of Advent. Pointing out one similarity between Jesus and John the Baptist, St. Augustine said, “The Lord Jesus began His preaching of the Gospel with the admonition: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).” His forerunner, John the Baptist, began his preaching in the same way: “Repent,” he said, “for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2).” Repent and Reconcile is the primary theme and goal of the Advent Season. In response to this call to Repent and Reconcile, our Catholic High and Elementary schools, as well as Catholic parishes across the Archdiocese and nationwide, have set aside a particular day(s) to celebrate Repentance and Reconciliation called the “Penance Service.” On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, I helped with the Repentance and Reconciliation services at Bishop Amat High school. On Tuesday, December 17, we will conduct a similar service for the students of Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary elementary school. Then on Wednesday, December 18, we will conduct a “Repent and Reconcile” service for the parishioners of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish. I will also assist in similar ceremonies in our neighboring parishes. The call to Repent and Reconcile by Jesus and John does bear fruit. We see the fruits in the activities of the opposite pairs in the first reading. In the first reading, Isaiah said, “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.” (Isaiah 11-9) These are unlikely pairs, but by repentance and the grace of God, it is possible for them to live side by side. In our own lives these pairs also exist. That is why the most important preparation for Christmas is to “Repent and Reconcile.”

Happy Advent. Fr. Mike Ume