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December 10, 2017

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

JMJ

“Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent…..”

These words, and what follows, came from St. Charles Borromeo in the 1600s. They were part of my Office of Readings this past Monday on the first full day of this new liturgical year. I thought they were relevant for us at this time as we prepare our hearts for Christmas. Let me continue with some of his message.

“This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love He has shown us in this time…..The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to His presence, He will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with Him the riches of His grace.”

The key idea above is the removing of obstacles. What he was referring to here is sin. Today you heard my bi-annual homily on reconciliation. You know that God hates sin but at the same time, you recognize that He is always prepared to forgive us (70×7) and we do this through the sacrament of Reconciliation, Penance, Confession.

Last week our Sts. Simon and Jude Healing Ministry prayed over some people who were suffering in body, mind, or spirit. It should be noted that if a person is in bondage to some type of sin, or has not been to confession in some time, or has not confessed a particular sin, or who has not forgiven someone who has hurt them, then these are the obstacles referred to in the above reading. They can prevent any progress towards the healing that we seek.

So again, we believe that the Sacrament which will be provided for you here on Monday night will open the gateway to a new life of peace and healing and pave the way for growth in holiness.

 

Addenda:

Don’t forget that the Tuesday, December 12th Mass at 7:00pm will be in Spanish in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

I said that I would report on my adventure in Detroit at the Andrea Bocelli concert that you provided for me as a gift in recognition of my 10 years here at Holy Spirit. Well, what a night! Fr. Richard and I began the evening with a wonderful meal at the Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck. It’s always a delight to go there and meet new people and enjoy good Polish food. Very tasty.

We then drove over to the brand new Little Caesars Arena and got the distinct sense that Detroit is definitely ‘on the mend’. The walk from the parking lot to the venue took us down several streets that in earlier days might have been a little nerve-racking, but I see many positive changes. The arena itself was just incredible; state-of-the-art. I might just become a hockey fan so that I can go down there regularly and “party down”. The many greetings given the concert-goers by the staff were remarkable. Everybody was so gracious. You couldn’t even walk into the bathroom without somebody saying, “enjoy the concert.”

As for the concert itself, wow, it was over the top. Andrea Bocelli was there with several guest artists, backed up by the DSO, and the Eastern Michigan University choir and they put on a wonderful show. I’ve heard it said that the arena was designed with performers in mind. Acoustics, lighting, etc. all seemed to be top notch. Now what was particularly (continued on Page 4) intriguing was that it was really a very Catholic and spiritual concert. Many of the songs sung by Bocelli and friends were very Catholic. The famous Latin Ave Maria being the prime example. And in addition to that, images projected on the big screens behind the stage were of Catholic cathedrals and statues of Mary and the saints. One might get the impression that there was an evangelical intent behind all of this.

There was plenty of time before and even after the concert to get acquainted with the people around us. Interestingly, I met some people from Dearborn, where I grew up, and Adrian where I was a teacher some years ago. And, guess what? I got in a little evangelizing myself. I met a few people who might fit into that category of “the lost sheep” and of course was able to extend that invitation, “Catholics, come home!”

I should also mention that a new movie has been produced about the life of Andrea Bocelli and it’s coming soon. Trivia question: what caused his blindness? Also, he has started a foundation in which he assists underprivileged people in various ways.

On behalf of Fr. Richard and myself, again, thank you very much for this very wonderful evening. And by the way, our Advent by candlelight presentation went off very well. Debbie Herbeck gave a wonderful conversion story and she brought her new friend Catherine, who is a wonderful singer. Several of our school kids also accompanied Leo in providing for the music of the evening. Thanks to all of you planners and for those who attended as well. Over $600 was collected for the St. Vincent dePaul society as part of the free will offerings. Fr. J

 

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