From the Pastor’s Desk
The First Sunday of Advent
Dec 3, 2023
What I say to you, I say to all: “Watch!”
Brothers and Sisters,
I must admit a humbling truth: I did not pass the test. For a while, this failure was a personal embarrassment. No one in my circle, not even my older brothers, had faced such a setback. But the test, deemed easy and largely common sense, proved otherwise. Its new computerized format, introduced just a year before, should have been the first hint of my imminent failure. When I informed my mother, she initially thought I was joking about failing the test for my driving learner’s permit.
I had assumed it would be a breeze, given my bookish nature (I consistently earned good grades). The rules of the road seemed simple and straightforward, mostly common sense — stop at stop signs, follow traffic signs and speed limits, and use your turn signal (as per Maryland’s Driver Manual, Section 3: Basic Driving, G. Turning). As an aside, one of my pet peeves is when drivers disregard Section 5: Driving Situations and Conditions, specifically when it comes to funeral processions. It’s important that we all respect funeral processions by refraining from cutting through them and educating new drivers on the proper protocol for yielding the right-of-way to vehicles in a funeral procession.
The question that lingered was, “Why did I fail?” It was a real-life lesson on the dangers of combining arrogance and inattentiveness — much like the peril of distracted driving or assuming one is too skilled to get into an accident.
As we enter the Advent season, it is a time to recognize our need for the Lord in our lives and heed His command: “Watch.” It is crucial to be observant of indications of God’s existence in our daily lives. We can also take solace in the pledge of His reappearance. The season of Advent reminds us to be aware of Jesus’ presence in the here and now, ensuring he is always with us as his us.
Prayer is the key to following Jesus’ call to “Watch!” This Advent, I encourage you, as individuals and families, to set the goal of entering into daily prayer. Much like driving, prayer becomes second nature, but distracted praying can be perilous. Review your prayer habits — when, where, and how you pray. Strive for consistency and create a focused space. Consider spending time in our Adoration Chapel if possible. Delve into the basics of prayer, including reading Scriptures and expressing gratitude, much like St. Paul does in our second reading. Engage in creative and consistent prayer, recognizing that, like driving, learning to pray requires active involvement, not just reading a manual (though learning from our great masters, the saints, is invaluable).
May your prayers yield knowledge and a growing awareness of the Lord’s miracles in and around your life.