PARISH BULLETIN – DECEMBER 3, 2023
Hello all! Thanksgiving is now behind us, and Advent is here. I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday. I was happy to be able to share my Thanksgiving meal with both of my brothers and their families. It was the first time we had all been together in several years. Lots of tasty food, good company, and many hands to help clean up. Cherish the memories of your gatherings and keep gratitude a part of your daily prayers. Truly God’s blessings are all around us – in our families, in our community and in the beauty of creation.
Today, we light the first candle on our Advent wreath, a symbol of HOPE! Hope comes to the one who is more aware; a message we hear in the Gospel on this First Sunday of Advent. Jesus tells of a master who leaves his servants in charge. The servants need to keep up their hard work even if the master is not supervising every move, because they never know at what point he will return. “May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.” Jesus emphasizes that it is important to consistently act as if the master were arriving because that changes the quality and quantity of the work.
Jesus tells us that consistently living out Christianity matters. Our daily habits, interactions with others, prayer lives, and words are important. If we act like everything we do counts, then it ultimately changes how we live. We become more aware and watchful for God in our lives. We model for others through our actions what it means to imitate Christ. Perhaps a question for our reflection this week might be: Have we lost habits in our faith life or are there new habits we might create to help ensure we never lose sight of our destination, the kingdom of God. The master of the house is patiently waiting for us to arrive home safely!
I encourage us all to create a habit this Advent by taking time to read from the Daily Reflection book that we will be handing out at each of our parish sites: Advent and Christmas, WAITING IN JOYFUL HOPE!
I would ask each of us to consider what has been or what is the biggest challenge you face this Advent as we continue our journey together Building a New Realty for our parishes here in Oak Park, with members both from and outside the area who are part of the community. There are challenges and opportunities. Working on a new attitude, offering forgiveness, or asking forgiveness, accepting change, and working for new ways of seeing and doing something are all ways we can foster patient hope during Advent. In doing something, no matter how big or small, if we do it in faith, hope and love, we create a more positive atmosphere for all around us. Then we will know we are staying watchful as followers of the Lord, who we do not know at what point he may return.
As Pope Francis reminds us: Advent increases hope. A hope which does not disappoint. The Lord never lets us down.
Have a safe and blessed week ahead.
With you a Christian. For you a priest.
Fr. Carl Morello
St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish
Ascension and St. Edmund Parish