Dear Community and Friends of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi,

May the Lord give you peace.

I hope you had a blessed celebration of Thanksgiving. It is always good to spend some time gratefully acknowledging the gifts that surround us. Again, we, the friars, team, and staff here, are
grateful to you. We are blessed to minister together both in person and through the live stream.

We begin the sacred days of Advent this weekend. As the days get shorter, we make time to reflect on our longing for God. Many years ago, I heard an Advent song that began with a refrain, “We go on waiting, knowing he has come. Yet, we are not ready to be transformed.” I continue to ponder this refrain. We wait for the one who is already with us. Our encounter with him is always transformative. Perhaps, this year we will have eyes open to see him in our midst. We will continue our celebration of the season. We gather as a richly diverse community. We sing, listen to the Word of God, reflect on that Word, and offer our prayer of Thanksgiving-our Eucharist. Then nourished by the Bread of Life, we are sent to continue the mission of the Gospel. Each of us is differently gifted and called to share in the mission of God’s affirming love.

We will also shift this weekend from the year of Luke to Matthew. We have listened to the Lukan Gospel throughout the year with his focus on the Spirit and the poor. As we move to Matthew, we hear of a mission that both includes and extends beyond the borders of Israel. Matthew invites us to consider Jesus with his parents as exiles/refugees/migrants in Egypt. This may help us frame our current experience of being graced with many migrants in our city.

We invite you to join us for Soup and Scripture. Once again, we gather at table and reflect together on the Word of God. (Click here for more information.) I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the Sacred Scripture as you bring the Word to life through your reflections.

In a fragile and broken world, we long for the experience of His presence. We are open to the transformation of our encounter with God’s love. Our scriptures remind us that He often comes in the most unexpected ways. As Mother Theresa noted: “Jesus is coming to you in the distressing disguise of the poor.” St. Francis called the early brothers to “begin again to seek the Lord.” Each Advent, we do precisely that; we begin again.

Blessed Advent,

Fr. Tom, ofm