Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
2021 has been another topsy-turvy year, and so how important it is for you, me, and all of humanity to remember at the end of this year the perduring truth of what the birth of Jesus Christ injects amidst our frail humanity and HOW God does it. He first of all does not force himself upon us, but enters into that frail humanity as a vulnerable child. In doing so, God wants to redeem humanity from within, by entering into solidarity with us in our plight.
Christmas then is God’s invitation to be drawn back to him not by brute force, but through the endearing attraction of the Infant Child. We have seen all too well how coercion does not change hearts, but brings further division. While there will be the time of divine judgment at the consummation of history, the time that Christmas ushers in is that of mercy and grace.
In the Divine Child of Christmas, God reveals to what can often be an inhumane world what it means to be human again. He does so with the witness of his own life, and the very first witness he gives to humanity is that of the humility of being born as a small baby in a cave that acts as a stable. A Savior is born who comes to save us from the slavery of our own selfishness, so as to be free to love, to save us from the injustices wrought by the reign of darkness, and to usher in the peace of the kingdom of Him who is the Light of the world.
Again, to be a part of such a kingdom, Christmas reveals to us that God does not impose, but he proposes to us to enter in. Will you? As your pastor and a priest of Jesus Christ, my vocation is to invite you into the sheepfold. Through these words, both written here and spoken at Holy Mass, hear the hidden voice of the Good Shepherd who from Day One chose to take on the smell of his sheep.
How do we more concretely answer God’s invitation? Make an appointment with me for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to denounce and be forgiven for all the wrongdoings and shame of the past, which the Evil One uses to keep us enslaved. Jesus wants you not to cling to our sins that can still have power over how we view ourselves but to put it behind us by the power of his cleansing mercy. If you are a Catholic who hasn’t been going to Mass for a while, call the parish office, and let the person know you’d like to meet with Fr. Chas for confession, so as to be able to receive the Eucharist again.
Don’t Forget Your Christmas Gift – a Blessed Medal of Our Lady of Guadalupe! I am so grateful for your Christmas gifts to me as your spiritual father, and so I hope you enjoy my gift to you! Since the crucifix and Miraculous Medal were such a hit last year, and I’ve seen so many of you wearing them, I thought I’d add to your collection with one of our parish patroness. Many of you may know that we consecrated our parish to Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, 2019. Ever since then, Mary has especially guided us through the rough patches in these last couple of years!
As I mentioned with last year’s gift, I recommend every Catholic wear a crucifix and some medal dedicated to Our Lady. They are our “dog tags” that identify us and to whom we belong! As St. Paul said, “Whether we live or we die, we are the Lord’s” (Rm 14:8). Also, please remember that these are NOT to be seen as good luck charms or superstitious magic. They are sacramentals, which the Catechism reminds help to dispose us to receive God’s graces and to cooperate with them.
A very Merry Christmas to you and yours! May Our Lady and her Divine Child teach all of humanity how to be more human again!
Yours in the newborn Christ-child,