Advent, a season of joyful expectation before Christmas, begins Nov. 29 this year. The Advent wreath, with a candle marking each week of the season, is a traditional symbol of the liturgical period.
Lisa A. Johnston/St. Louis Review, cns
New liturgical year a time to put our houses in order
Rev. Paul D. Minnihan
We come to the close of another liturgical year.
The celebration of Christ the King of the Universe (Nov. 22) affords us the opportunity to comprehend the breadth and depth of Jesus' reach.
Christ will stretch Himself to embrace us and invite us to draw ever closer to Him. A gentleman came to see me. Exhausted and weighed down by hardship, he could not fathom that Christ would reach for him. The conversation we had, which was an encounter with the living Jesus, brought him to tears, as he said to me, "Jesus wants me to clean my house." Isn't that the truth with all of us? I don't know about you, but I need to get my vacuum out and get busy.
With the end of a liturgical year and the beginning of a new one, let's set our gaze on a right New Year's resolution. From the youngest to the oldest, from the devout to the distant believer, let us all put our houses in better order. And if we do not think that our houses need a bit of cleaning, then we have missed the whole point of the faith journey.
The journey is the very reason why there is church.
Said so beautifully, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Church says, "The Church, in Christ, is a sacrament — a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of the unity of the entire human race." Our focus is on Jesus who came to restore unity. Jesus' prayer is that all may be one, one with the Father and one community. So to make this more immediate, we are the sign and we are the instrument. An instrument is meant to do something and be about something. We are Jesus' own and we need to be about Jesus in our living.
As we enter into the New Year with the beginning of Advent on Nov. 29, there is much happening. For me, this is very exciting. When I consider the gifts and talents that make up our parishes and diocese, we are blessed. And we need to put all of the gifts bestowed upon us to the right use.
That should be our focus in the coming year. Next week is the First Sunday of Advent and we begin the journey toward that great star who is the light of the world.
(Father Paul Minnihan is pastor at Sts. Augustine and Elizabeth Ann Seaton, the Catholic Community of Pleasanton.)
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