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in Love, Mercy

Celebrating Advent

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"We Don't Really Celebrate Advent"

A priest friend remarked this to me one Advent. He is right; we easily get caught up in preparing for the festivities of Christmas: decorating the house and tree, buying and wrapping gifts, shopping for and preparing Christmas Dinner. Even our staff can get caught up in preparing more for Christmas Masses than entering into Advent. 

Coincidently, Advent is a season of preparation: a time to prepare our hearts, minds, and souls for the coming of Christ: “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.” We prepare to celebrate the historical event  of the incarnation: of God becoming Man. We are challenged to prepare ourselves for the moment we are called home to Christ. We are also called to prepare for the second coming of Christ at the end of time.  

In this year plagued by the Coronavirus, it will be easy to mourn our “normal” Christmas traditions, as we are asked to celebrate with immediate family only. Many gifts will need to be mailed (or sent directly via Amazon) to loved ones. We will miss out on some of the hugs and laughs we often share with extended family.  The Christmas kids table will be a breakout room on Zoom. 

Instead of mourning our normal Christmas, let us choose to view this as an invitation. An invitation to prepare less for the festivities of Christmas and enter into the season of Advent. Doing so will lead us to a greater understanding of God’s mercy and allow us to embrace God’s love more fully. 

 

Tags: advent

God's Great and Vast Mercy

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Matthews 20:1-16 serves as a reminder for us about how great and vast God's mercy and generosity are. Our salvation is not earned, but freely given by God. 

Jesus provides salvation for all who accept His invitation, no matter the timing. Sometimes, we can be like the laborers who worked the fields all day, and think we are a "better Christian" somehow based on how long we have faithfully practiced our faith, how much we pray, or volunteer, or give to charity. Jesus wants us to focus on the fact that we should be thankful that we have been invited to "labor in the field" at all.

Christ invites us to focus less on comparing ourselves to others and more on our interior life; our personal relationship with God. Only when we strive to love God with all our heart, mind, and soul can we truly love our neighbor as ourselves.

Tags: love, mercy

I Will Give You Rest

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"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”

The past few months have been difficult for all of us due to the Coronavirus. Trying to balance working from home, homeschooling our children, and social isolation has left us exhausted; a tiredness that sleep alone cannot solve. I was blindsided a different way during this virus. In November, my wife and I learned we were pregnant with our second child. On March 13, at a routine ultrasound, we learned that our unborn son had a terminal genetic disorder known as Trisomy-18.  We were told to prepare that our son would not live long (minutes at best) and that chances were high he would pass away before birth.

On June 9th at 5:00 AM, Eli John was born. After an immediate emergency baptism, he went to be with all the angels and saints in heaven.

While this is a very fresh wound for me, I find comfort in today’s Gospel reading. Suffering, pain, and death are part of the human experience.  Sometimes we fall into thinking that if we believe in God we will not have to suffer. However, God does not promise that. Even Jesus suffered and died. HE promises us rest: that if we place our trust in Him, that we will find true peace amidst the turbulence in our lives. Therefore, our suffering becomes a prayer. I know there are many of us who feel over-burdened with life right now. I know that if we trust Christ with our brokenness, that He will give us peace.

God Bless,
~Andrew

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