Fr. Stan’s Article

Our newly elected governor of Michigan campaigned on “fixing the darn (not her word) roads.” All of us can identify local or state highways that are in such bad shape that they pose a danger to driving let alone a repair cost for our vehicles. With the freeze and thaw of winter we can certainly expect wheel-eating potholes. Having straight, level and smooth roads would be both a dream fulfilled and a traveler’s blessing.

The readings for the second Sunday of Advent use the image of straight, level and smooth roads as a metaphor for building a highway for the return of slaves from exile and for the coming of the Messiah. The prophet Baruch (among others) speaks of mountains made low, valleys filled in, and crooked paths made straight for the exiles of Babylon to return to Jerusalem with God at the head of the caravan. John the Baptist applies this image to preparing peoples’ hearts for the coming of the Messiah through a baptism of repentance. It is exactly such a preparation that is needed both for the celebration of Christmas as for the eventual return of Jesus in glory at the end of time.

Here at St. Mary’s we’re focusing on the anticipation that accompanies Advent in preparation for Christmas. Both out of eagerness and boredom children on a long journey often ask “Are we there yet?” Perhaps that’s our question as we busy ourselves over decorating, cooking, shopping and gift-giving. Perhaps our path to Christmas is filled with the twists and turns of disappointment and the potholes of exhaustion and depression. Our mountains of sin and our valleys of selfishness prevent us from moving on to the peace and joy promised by our savior. We need to find the bulldozers of prayer and the earth movers of Scripture to see God’s way to our journey’s end. And it’s not a journey we take alone. We are in the company of believers from every age, race and nation. God invites all to His kingdom and commissions the disciples of His Son to be the welcoming party. Our parish challenge this week is to help smooth the path for someone by contributing our time or by making a donation to HOPE adult shelter in Pontiac. The road that we’re on may be under construction, but we’re filled with faith and hope that it will get us to our ultimate destination.

Thank you very much for your participation in the annual giving tree. Over 1300 gifts were returned and will be delivered to various agencies to provide Christmas gifts for children and adults that may not receive any other gift this year. I watched as the last two cards were taken from the tree and prayed that these gifts would be a blessing for the givers as well as the receivers. Please also consider our Christian Service Department’s recommendation for parish giving this year: HOPE adult shelter in Pontiac.

Monday evening’s Mass at 7:00 PM will include the Sacrament of Anointing. We will pray especially for the sick members of our parish and those facing surgery during this holiday season. May God grant them strength and comfort.

Next Saturday bring your children and grandchildren to our Birthday Party for Jesus sponsored by Knights of Columbus in the gym. Games, crafts, refreshments, gifts and story-telling will highlight the event starting at 11:00 AM. Registration is important in order to provide food and gifts for all present. There is no charge.

Advent peace and joy,

Fr. Stan