From the Pastor’s Desk
The Second Sunday of Advent
Dec 10, 2023
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard “delay,”
but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish
but that all should come to repentance.
-2 Peter 3:9
Brothers and Sisters,
Fashionably late, once again. But worry not, for I come armed with a slew of excuses. In a previous parish, the rectory doubled as a quaint house in the neighborhood, affording me a mere 7-minute commute to the Church—I deeply cherished many facets of this arrangement. Regrettably, I allowed a certain habit to take root, a habit that clings to me even now. I’m a last-minute person. Or, to put it more diplomatically, I strive to utilize every available moment efficiently, squeezing in one more task. Consequently, I’d leave at the eleventh hour to ensure I arrived at the Church with just enough time to kick off Mass promptly.
To my chagrin, I soon discovered that the rectory, conveniently perched on the street corner, was the perfect spot to wait for the morning bus, but still, somehow, it didn’t save me any time. If the bus happened to coincide with my departure, I found myself not only waiting for the children to board safely but also contending with the morning traffic as cars embarked on their diverse journeys. There I stood, resigned to my fate, aware that tardiness was inevitable. When I commenced Mass five or so minutes behind schedule, my excuse invariably became, “I got stuck behind the bus, again.” After a few repetitions, an astute parishioner gently reminded me, “Michael, that bus arrives at the same time every day. You can’t use that as an excuse anymore.”
You’ll understand the perpetual struggle if you share my penchant for being “surprised” by traffic. I acknowledge that certain routes at specific times are prone to delays, yet I persist in neglecting this inevitable reality when planning my day. Peter directs our attention to the Psalmist in his epistle, who recognizes that God exists beyond time constraints. God is perpetually punctual; we tend to “dilly dally.” The challenge in Isaiah, echoed in the opening verses of Mark’s Gospel, to “make straight his paths” is as relevant to our direction as it is to our timing. Now is the opportune moment to acknowledge the Lord; now is the time for conversion.
In Advent, with our lengthy checklists preparing for Christmas celebrations in Church and with family and friends, the most crucial tasks often remain undone: being present to the Lord. Stay faithful in your prayer life and nurture a genuine fear of the Lord. This fear isn’t one of punishment or retribution; it’s the gift of the Spirit, a fear of disappointing a God deserving of our admiration and love, and one that leads to true wonder and awe as we praise the Lord for His presence in our lives.
May you truly value the gift of time and offer the “first” of your day to the Lord!