From the Pastor’s Desk

The Third Sunday of Advent

Dec 17, 2023

“I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.”

-Isaiah

 

Brothers and Sisters,

Throughout my life, I have experienced moments of being lost. It has happened to me while driving a car, walking on foot, and even while out on the water. One of the most memorable times was when I led my family aimlessly on Deep Creek Lake, much to their amusement. These days, I depend on GPS when I’m driving, but I still remember the feeling of being lost and how it can be overwhelming. When I find my way somewhere without any issues and accomplish a task simultaneously, like picking up groceries on the way home from running errands or completing pastoral visits, it brings me a sense of relief and happiness. However, I am aware that true and lasting joy can only come from God, and I find comfort in knowing that.

When it comes to relying on sources for guidance, we often turn to technology like mobile navigation apps such as Waze. However, it’s important to consider the credibility of the sources we choose to follow. In this regard, the biblical figure of John the Baptist serves as an interesting example. Despite being regarded as the least significant among prophets, John claimed to be a voice worth heeding. He consistently urged people to “Prepare the way for the Lord.” This message echoed the words of Elijah and the Prophet, who were considered significant because of their personal relationship with the Lord. It’s worth noting that Elijah and Moses appeared before Jesus during his transfiguration on the mountain, and they were expected to point out the coming of the Messiah.

In this reading from the prophet Isaiah, we can hear Jesus’ first sermon. He read these words and explained how they were written about him. This prophecy was given to us so that we can recognize him and know him when he comes. His grace transforms the world around us, and that’s why we should rejoice greatly—from the depths of our being. God satisfies us by offering the necessary healing and hope and provides us with freedom from our sins and, more importantly, freedom to love in his image.

Just as John was only a voice, we should reflect on the many voices in our lives. God has placed countless people in our lives to guide us. The Spirit speaks through many prophets even to this day. These authentic prophets all lead us to rejoice in the Lord always. Let’s be grateful to God for these many voices and ask Him to help us lead and guide others to authentic worship and praise of Him.

This year’s 4th Week of Advent presents a unique scenario with a condensed half-day, prompting questions about its implications for the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas. Instead of focusing on how many obligations can be met with one Mass, let’s focus on deeply connecting with Jesus at worship. To facilitate this, we’ve modified our regular Mass schedule to encourage wholehearted participation. For the 4th Sunday of Advent, we’ve arranged Masses on Saturday at 4:30 pm and 7 pm and Sunday morning Masses at 7:30 am and 9 am. In consideration of our ministers and musicians, we’ve decided to cancel the 11 am Mass, allowing them ample preparation time for Christmas Eve.

As we approach the joyous occasion of Christmas, let us remember the familiar schedule of our Christmas Eve and Day Masses from previous years. We will gather for 4 pm Masses in both the Church and the Parish Center Gym, with an online broadcast and an outdoor option. In addition, we will have 6 pm, 8 pm, 12 Midnight, and Christmas Day 9 am Masses to celebrate the gift of our Savior, Jesus. Let us come together in unity to commemorate this blessed occasion with gladness and gratitude!

In the Lord,

Rev. Michael S. Triplett

Going on at OLPH:

PRAYER AND PRAISE FOR ALL ADULT MEN – Twice monthly, OLPH Men’s Ministry will host praise and worship in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel at Our Lady of Perpetual Help—just an uncomplicated night of prayer, soft music by guitar, and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Hearing the sound of men’s voices, all lifted in prayer and song is powerful, and praying together as men are desperately needed in a society that lacks solid Christian men with values who strive to live out the Gospel of Our Blessed Lord. Young Adult Men (ages 18-35) of the parish and friends, please mark your calendar for the first and third Mondays of each month to join us at 8 PM. Our next gathering will be in the Chapel on Monday, December 18, at 8 PM.

OLPH PARISHIONER DEDICATES SPRING BREAK TO MISSION WORK Freshman Sydney McGee of the Franciscan University of Steubenville will join a team of missionaries to Quito, Ecuador, during Spring Break 2024. The parish is proud to support Sydney in this effort. If you, too, would like to contribute to the expense of her trip, visit https://outreach.franciscan.edu/ecuador-spring-mission/ into your browser to donate through Franciscan University’s website. Enter “Sydney McGee” under “Enter Student’s Name.” So that you know, donations are not tax deductible since they are going to a person.