Fr. Stan’s Article

How often do you rely on your GPS when driving to your destination? When this technology first became available I was fascinated that a sweet voice could guide me where I wanted to go (even in several different languages).  I was soon disappointed when that voice took me on a wild goose chase: “Turn left, turn left! Recalculating.”  Just last week I was at a dinner where a couple was complaining that their GPS had them driving around in circles trying to find the correct address.  I suppose we don’t always get the right directions and every voice needs to be tested.

Obviously the voice of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel reading is being tested by the officials from Jerusalem who ask “Who are you?” They are actually asking John the Baptist “Who do you think you are?” riling people up with talk about the Messiah and repentance. John humbly replies that he is a voice in the desert calling people to prepare the way of the Lord.

Just as John was challenged for his work and message, we too find ourselves questioned and challenged when we put our faith into action. Following Jesus isn’t always the most popular thing to do, especially when it involves shaking up the status quo or exploring new ways to serve the lost and forgotten. For example, the Church’s message about respect for life and the dignity of every person often creates heated debates when it comes to issues like nuclear war, medical care, serving the poor, immigration, and the death penalty. Is there a spiritual GPS that gets us to the right answer and action?

Sr. Mary McGlone, a Sister of St Joseph of Carondelet, suggests that today’s Scripture readings offer at least three criteria for knowing what is of God in us and others. Isaiah tells us that God moves on behalf of the forgotten and broken-hearted, Paul tells us that joy is a mark of true believers in God’s goodness, and John the Baptist tells us that those moved by God always point beyond themselves. Hopefully our preparations for the Christmas celebration tell the world that we care for others, experience true joy, and are aware of God in our midst in Jesus.

Please be attentive to the Mass schedule for next weekend. We will celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent on Saturday, December 23rd at 4:00 PM and Sunday, December 24th at 10:00 AM (No Masses at 9:00 AM or 11:00 AM). The Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Mass schedule is posted below. Prepare a spiritual road to the Lord by receiving His mercy and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week. Tuesday we will have several priests available to hear your confessions starting at 7:00 PM with a Scripture service. Expect the unexpected goodness of God.

Advent peace and joy,

Fr. Stan