ON THIS FOURTH AND LAST SUNDAY OF THE ADVENT SEASON we would all do well to pause and reflect on what we have accomplished during these past weeks in preparation for what we will celebrate this week – the Birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as we draw nearer to this celebration, we find that in order to bring true and lasting joy and peace to others, we have to bring them Christ. Jesus is the greatest gift that we can ever bring to someone we love. This is something we all have to remember especially at Christmas. We can buy people all types of gifts – and giving gifts is a sign of our love and affection for others – this is a wonderful tradition, especially when kept in check. But the greatest gift we can bring them is Jesus Christ. If we aren’t trying to give them the Lord Jesus, then we’re really giving them only mere things which bring short-lived joy and fleeting happiness. We can send out a thousand cards and letters, but of lasting value are our prayers for others that they come to the Lord and help them to encounter Jesus and to draw into a deeper relationship Christ our Savior. Unless we try to bring Christ to them, we’re really not giving them anything of true value, anything that will truly last. Mary didn’t bring Elizabeth ancient Hebrew pregnancy text-books; she wasn’t bringing John the Baptist a cute little outfit; she was bringing Christ and, hence, she was bringing them everything – Mary was bringing them Jesus Christ. And Mary wants us to learn from her example and inspire us to bring her Son to others this Advent. We all know people who need Christ in their lives, who need his forgiveness, who hunger for his love and his presence, perhaps without even knowing it. But many of us perhaps are spiritual Ebenezer Scrooges, keeping our relationship with Jesus completely to ourselves, and not wanting to share the Lord with anyone else. Mary’s example shows us the way to live Advent and Christmas well and explicitly challenges and calls us to bring Jesus to our family members, relatives, friends, fellow parishioners, co-workers, neighbors, and to those we know who are in need. We know from experience that the greatest blessings in this world are Jesus Christ and our faith in Him. These are the gifts we should be longing for this Christmas, because these are the ones that will make us truly and genuinely happy. Even if we were to receive the entire inventory of any shopping center for Christmas, that would not be as valuable to us as the gift of God and the gift of increased faith in Him.
I want to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Paul Thornock and the members of the Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Chamber Orchestra who provided a spiritually moving and musically uplifting Advent Lessons and Carols last Sunday. My thanks to all who read the lessons, volunteered and participated in a variety of ways for in doing so, they made this an inviting occasion for a standing-room-only crowd in our Cathedral.
I want to express my sincere thanks again to all who already have or will be volunteering their time and talents to make this Advent a special time for everyone here in our parish — and throughout the year for that matter — especially those participating in and coordinating the “Giving Tree” program; all persons involved in various ministries and parish committees; all volunteers who help distribute food to the poor and needy at the Cathedral Rectory each day and at Saint Lawrence Haven on the grounds of Holy Cross; those who were cleaning and preparing Holy Cross in anticipation of re-opening last Sunday after the interior renovation; those who cleaned the Cathedral this past week for Christmas; those who will be involved this week in decorating Holy Cross and the Cathedral so beautifully for Christmas; all who will assist in the liturgies in so many ways; all who were involved in the special programs; and all who spent additional time in prayer and in preparation for the Birth of Jesus. As a token of our thanks, everyone who has served in any ministerial capacity, or who has served in any volunteer capacity or on any committee in the Holy Cross and Cathedral parishes, is invited after Mass to pick up a gift of our appreciation for helping to make both Holy Cross and Saint Joseph Cathedral what they are – true parish families. Gifts can be picked up this weekend at Holy Cross in the Sacristy after Masses, and on the first floor of the Cathedral parish offices after Masses. It is my sincere and greatest hope and desire, and that of Bishop Campbell, Bishop Griffin (retired), Father Noble, Father Hilary, Fr. Augustine, Dcn. Gorski, Dcn. Johnston, Sister Anne, and the entire staff at Holy Cross and the Cathedral that you and your family members may have a safe, joyous, blessed, spirit-filled and Merry Christmas!
~ The Nativity of the Lord, Mass and Concert schedule, December 24 and 25 ~
Christmas Eve, December 24:
- 3:30 p.m. Holy Cross Choir Concert
- 4:00 p.m. Masses at Holy Cross and the Cathedral
- 6:00 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral
- 11:00 p.m. Cathedral Choir Concert followed by 12:00 Midnight Mass
Christmas Day, December 25:
- 10:00 a.m. Masses at Holy Cross and the Cathedral