A Slight Shift

12-17-2017From Our PastorFr. Brian Jazdzewski

A very small number of you are aware that I officiated at a funeral in Ettrick on Monday past. The primary reason being that the Catholic churches in Ettrick and Blair have been without a resident priest for several weeks; that reality is likely to remain for several more weeks… or longer. There was a need to reach this far to find a priest available to cover the funeral on Monday and so, for the good of Catholicism, I was chosen. May Mildred rest in peace!

I mention this reality because none of us are in a position to take what we have for granted. Further, we need to continue to take good care of our priests and continue to pray for, encourage, and support vocations to the ordained priesthood. We also need to continue to increase our stewardship of time, talent and treasure to our parishes so that, when we are without a priest, we can continue to be Church. Keep these things in mind next time you have an encounter with a young man who has priesthood qualities, you are in prayer, and when you are interacting with any priest.

So much of what we do as Church is encapsulated in these Advent days. We prepare for the comings of Christ daily, at Christmas and at the end of the age. We also continue to live with the reality that God is with us as we concentrate on Emmanuel. These realities ought to occupy space in our mind regularly; these realities help us grow in holiness.

Today, as the clergy wear rose vestments, we are reminded about a slight shift in Advent. We visually recognize the shift in color as we remember Christ is the light that brightens the darkness. Another slight shift is the beginning of the O Antiphons used in the Church's daily prayers. Perhaps you will research the O Antiphons a bit and make them part of your daily reflections before Christmas. They are easily found in the verses of the popular hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

The slight shift does not end there. On this weekend we also have a slight shift in our emphasis of the Advent season. We take a bit of a break from remembering the Lord is Coming and we acknowledge the Lord is Near! Sure, time passes so quickly during these busy days and weeks and we are now only days away from Christmas. The shift next Sunday evening will be to the Lord is Here. Until then, we pace ourselves and remember the Lord is Near.

Consider how your life has changed and will continue to do so as you remind yourself of this reality. The reality that Jesus accompanies you each day, and more than that, each moment. The reality becomes clearer when you remember that the Lord is near as you complete your daily tasks and interact with people He places into your life. And, to be even more spiritual, the Lord is within your spirit. His presence became part of your life at Baptism and renewed at each sacrament you receive. We also teach and believe that He is within you in the Scriptures you read and hear and the Eucharist you consume. His nearness to your heart and soul will bring about change as He does the mighty works within each and every one of us.

These remaining days of Advent are meant to be meaningful and life changing. The event of Christmas has changed the world forever, for the good. The Lord is choosing to make some changes within your personal life; it's our choice to succumb to His Spirit and allow ourselves to be molded more into His image and likeness. Let's continue to pray for one another, that the reality of the Lord is Near will renew the face of the earth.