The Fourth Sunday of Advent
From the Pastor’s Desk
December 18, 2022
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.”
~ Wisdom 9:13
God is with us! Whether we are distressed, facing illness or loss, happy, content, or ready to celebrate, the simple truth that God is with us always makes all the difference. From our beautiful and ancient Catholic faith traditions to our modern digital devotional tools, like the Hallow App, both should point us back to God. A Heavenly Father who longs to draw us close to us, his beloved children, during Advent. Yes, our God spent much attention preparing for His Son Jesus to enter the human condition, yet, God continues to invest divine efforts in us so that we might be aware of the great lengths the Lord has gone to love us without condition and save us.
Advent is a season designed to cultivate attentiveness to our Lord’s tender proximity, yet in dichotomy, it’s also a time filled with preparations. Wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and decorating our homes while squeezing in all our favorite holiday songs and movies are all worthy activities. Still, if we are honest with ourselves, we can lose focus on the true purpose of this sacred time — our Savior is drawing near! When God draws closer to us in all of His mystery, let’s make room because “to have faith in a God of unconditional love is to realize how intimately close God is.”
As you all have prepped your homes for Christmas, we here at OLPH have, too; thanks to some kind parishioners and OLPH staff, our parish is getting ready to welcome baby Jesus. Their special efforts paid to our campus serve two purposes. First, God deserves the best, including making our lovely Church building ready, for which we thank the many generous benefactors, including those who are now deceased. And through our prayers and worship, time spent in Adoration, participation in Reconciliation, and warm response of almsgiving toward our Advent Giving Tree and Boxes for Baltimore programs, our hearts and souls have prepared a space that our Lord is pleased to draw near in.
Secondly, we are inspired to get ready these sacred spaces of our hearts and Church to receive guests, as if we were receiving the Lord himself. Despite potentially crowded parking lots or pews, thank you all in advance for the extra effort you’ll make to welcome visitors, friends, and strangers to our Christmas Eve and Day Masses. Your graciousness and patience are hallmarks of our wonderful OLPH community.
To that end, to comfortably accommodate an expected increase of young families attending the 4 pm Christmas Eve Mass, we will hold services in the Church and the Parish Center Gym, along with digital screens made available outside to deliver our Livestream Mass feed. Our Masses will continue with the 6 pm, 8 pm, 12-Midnight and Sunday 9 am Mass. Please note that the 7:30 am, 11 am, or 5 pm Masses will not be celebrated on Christmas Day.
For those among our parish family traveling this Christmas, I pray that the Lord leads you to your destinations safely and brings you home happy, healthy, and a bit holier!
 Delio, Unbearable Wholeness, 83, 84. Ilia Delio, OSF, Ph.D., is a Franciscan Sister of Washington, DC, and an American theologian specializing in science and religion, with interests in evolution, physics, and neuroscience and the import of these for theology.
In the Lord,
Rev. Michael S. Triplett