Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi,
May the Lord give you peace.
This is Gaudete Sunday! It is a time to rejoice in the experience and the presence of God. Our Advent reflections invite us to the joy of the Gospel. With the community and friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, we rejoice!
We light our third candle this weekend. We are halfway through our Advent journey. How are you doing? The dynamic energy of this season draws us out of ourselves and opens us to greater time spent with family and friends. It also invites us to consider more intimately the presence of God within and among us. Parties, shopping, decorating, and festive meals are wonderful opportunities for us to gather. Reflecting on our experiences can lead us to prayer.
We also see ourselves among homeless people, migrants, and refugees. Wars continue throughout the world, and division is our daily experience. We are invited to reflect on our world and culture as we pray. The text from Isaiah states, “say to those whose hearts are frightened, be strong, fear not.” We ask ourselves, how can we be the strength and the hope for all whose hearts are frightened? The transformation of this Advent is both celebrating the goodness and grace of gathering with friends and family as well as working toward a reconciliation that gives hope to all who struggle.
Isaiah says, “be strong, fear not.” Paul writes, “be patient.” Jesus tells the disciples of John to “Go and tell John what you hear and see.” Once again, we are encouraged to reflect on our giftedness. We are strong, hopeful, patient, and aware. These wonderful gifts are ours through the presence of God’s Spirit lovingly dwelling within us. In a season of gift sharing, we share God’s presence. We share the grace of God among our family and friends. That same gift is ours to share with all we encounter along the way.
Mark your calendar! We still have two Mondays for Soup and Scripture. The Simbang Gabi novena begins on December 15th, and our Carols with the Choir is on December 18th. We have opportunities for reflection together, prayer, and musical celebration. I hope you can find time to participate.
Fr. Tom, ofm