Sunday, December 20 at St. Francis Xavier Parish
This Sunday we celebrate the final Sunday of Advent and reflect on the passage taken from St. Luke’s Gospel which describes for us the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“During Advent the Liturgy of the Word tells us that we bump into God in strange places: in the poor, in crowds, and, strangest of all, in the obscure village of Nazareth and one of its backwater young women. Mary is a powerless female in a world ruled by males; poor, in a highly stratified society; found to be pregnant before she cohabits with her husband, and so obviously not carrying his child to validate her existence. That she would have “found favor with God” is hugely surprising, especially to Mary!
The Lukan biblical imagination has captured the imagination of artists down through the centuries. With their own prophetic insight, they have set the extraordinary faith of Mary among familiar things: a half-read book, a meal in preparation, a door opened on children and animals at play, people passing by… The heavens have been torn open; God has come down, not with mountain quaking and fire burning, but in the gentle descent of the Spirit who broods over the womb of Mary of Nazareth. And as at the first creation life was called forth, so now the first cell of the new creation is conceived… “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”
Every Advent we are challenged to have the attentiveness of Mary to the flutter of Christ-life that stirs in the womb of our complacency. So often our world seems starved of stars; and so often we watch or participate in rituals of mourning for acts of terrorism, natural disaster, the local tragedies of road deaths, or other dark events. Usually in these rituals there are candles: small pieces of self-consuming wax and flame that say light has more right to exist in our world than darkness. This is the message, too, of our Advent wreath as we light the last of its four candles. But those candles, like all ritual candles, will burn out. It is up to us, disciples of the Light of the World, to catch fire from Christ’s mystery and bring something of this fire and light into our own lives and, especially, into the lives of those for whom Christmas may not be a feast of joy but a time of darkness that stirs painful memories of those with whom they can no longer celebrate because of death, separation, divorce, family quarrels. For the friendless, the homeless, the abused, Christmas may arouse bitter comparisons and regrets. The fire we catch from Christ, our readiness to be consumed like him in the flame of loving service of our sisters and brothers, may be as simple a gift as a visit, a letter, a phone call, an invitation to a meal, a present on the parish “Jesse Tree.” But it will mean that, together, we will truly celebrate something of a “Happy Christmas.” (Living Liturgy 2021)
In all the uncertainty that surrounds us due to the ongoing pandemic and the announcement that the city of Hamilton will be going into lockdown on Monday, we will wait for more details from our Diocese in regard to Christmas celebrations in our local parishes and whether or not the parish office will remain open. As soon as I know more details I will share them with you by email and post them on our website.
You are invited to visit our YouTube channel on Christmas Eve to watch the video for this year’s Christmas pageant, which will feature students and families from our parish portraying the Nativity Story through photos, as well as Christmas carols led by members of our youth choir!
As has been our practice during the time of pandemic, for those who cannot be with us this Sunday, please access the 9am Sunday morning Mass livestream here and join us in praying the Rosary before the Mass at 8:30am.