3rd Sunday of Advent
December 12, 2021
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
~ Luke 3:16
Brothers and Sisters,
As a child, I vividly remember my mother’s enthusiastic singing (which I mostly remember fondly, though admittedly not my favorite way to be woken up). One of her favorites was a “bible song,” reflecting on what should be in our hearts. It begins, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy / Down in my heart.” (If you do not know this song, there are many versions on youtube, including this fun version with animated birds singing). Verses continue, calling out the love or the peace of Jesus found in hearts, plus a humorous verse states, “If the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack.”
Unequivocally, the devil did not like Mary’s “yes” to conceive and bear Jesus, which thwarted Satan’s plan for creation to dissipate into chaos. This past week, we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, when the Lord prepared Mary without sin for her appointed role in salvation as Jesus’ mother. And on this day, December 12, the Church remembers Mary under her title, Our Lady of Guadalupe, reminding us of her part in inviting all peoples into a relationship with her son, Jesus.
It’s important to consider what the Lord is calling us to accomplish as part of our sacramental journey. As John the Baptist promised to those who accept baptism, its grace will permanently impact lives because Christ claims us —what God has accomplished cannot be undone. When confirmed, we embrace the responsibility of living for the sake of others and sharing in the ministry of Christ. And each time we join in the Eucharist celebration, we seek the fullness of union with the Lord. Like Mary, God has appointed us for a particular vocation and role in salvation history. Our Lord needs us to imitate our Blessed Mother – saying “yes” to Him and pondering the mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation in prayer. While there is sadness due to suffering and loss in life, Christ promises lasting joy when we allow him in our hearts. Let us ask the Lord for this gift of joy as he heals us from any disappointments that we may have allowed to fester in our lives.
This Friday, December 17, at 7 pm, OLPH will offer a unique opportunity to welcome the healing balm of our Lord’s love into our hearts at a Healing Mass with Father Ambrose. Come as you are, bringing your pain and hurting, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, as together we ask the Lord of life to heal us! The evening will include Mass, a special message on forgiveness, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the laying on of hands to confer a spiritual blessing by a priest, the opportunity for the Sacrament of Reconciliation afterward. Further healing and acceptance will be available at OLPH’s annual Blue Christmas prayer service on Monday, December 20, at 7 pm in the Church. We will acknowledge God’s presence amid our pain due to losing a loved one, marriage, or a job. I encourage you to reach out to family or friends who have recently experienced a loss. Would you please let them know about these opportunities for healing at OLPH? And that you will be praying for them during these last days of preparation during Advent so we all can approach the celebration of Jesus’ birth with hearts filled with joy, joy, joy!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.
Rev. Michael S. Triplett