With this Sunday’s celebration we enter into a new liturgical year and we begin the season of Advent.
“Be watchful! Be alert!” are the first words with which Mark greets us at the beginning of this new year of the church. They are also the last words spoken by Jesus in Mark’s gospel (Mark 13:37) before the vortex of violence begins to suck Jesus into the passion and death that he will conquer by his resurrection. So even as we begin Advent, we are reminded of the paschal mystery of Christ, the hub of the liturgical year.
Today’s gospel is part of Mark 13, the chapter that is known as his “little apocalypse.” Apocalypse is sometimes called the literature of the oppressed, as it usually arises from and is addressed to people in a time of uncertainty or suffering, present or imminent. Such was the situation of the Markan church, persecuted and unsure what the next day would bring in terms of fidelity to or betrayal of their faith…
Mark describes the “Jesus journey” through the parable of a man who goes abroad and leaves his servants in charge of his household. Just as each one of the servants in the parable is given specific work to do during his master’s absence, so we, as members of God’s household, are to be daily committed to our baptismal calling in our own circumstances, “evening, morning, cockcrow, dawn.” Especially as “doorkeepers,” we are to watch out for and open our personal and communal lives to the advent of God. Modern science speaks of the cosmos in terms of millennia of millennia, yet we know that this is not the scale of our own lifetime. The natural process of aging, perhaps the diagnosis of our own or our loved one’s terminal illness, the sudden fatal accident, the ravages of natural disasters – all these are reminders of our much shorter time and our need to be prepared for that “personal parousia,” Christ’s advent in our death.
This Sunday in our churches or homes we light the first candle on the Advent wreath: a small flame is struck on an evergreen circle, a simple ritual and symbol of the first flicker of hope in the One who is the Light of the World, who will lead us through every darkness to eternal life with God who is without beginning or end. “Maranatha,” “Come, Lord,” is our persistent Advent cry.” (Living Liturgy 2021)
We are currently in the 6th week of the One Heart, One Soul Campaign which is taking place across our Diocese. At Masses this weekend I will provide an update on our progress so far. Thank-you so much to all our parishioners who have donated to the Campaign up until now. I invite those who have not yet sent in their pledges to do so as soon as possible. Thank-you.
I would like to thank Jeanette Pin, who has been working in the parish office as our bookkeeper for the past 2 years, for her hard work, positivity, good spirit, and great dedication to her duties. Due to health reasons Jeanette has retired from her position. All of us at the parish office will miss her. We wish you all the best, good health and a happy retirement.
And at this time I wish to welcome our new staff member, Jean Goobie, a long-time parishioner, who will be embracing the bookkeeping responsibilities here at the parish. Jean is a member of our parish financial council and has been working as a financial co-ordinator for Catholic Family Services in Hamilton for many years. We are happy to have Jean on our parish staff and we wish her a good and quick adjustment to her duties. Break a leg!
Thank-you to all who have already registered for the Christmas Masses by using our online registration system on the parish website or by calling the office or by sending an email. Please know that you are only booking a specific Mass and not choosing seat in the church for that Mass. For all those who are intending to come for one of the Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Masses, we ask your assistance in helping us to get organized by registering as soon as possible. A note to all: If any of the Masses end up having a very low number for registrations, they will likely be removed from the schedule and those who had registered for them will be invited to attend at one of the other available times.
This Thursday, December 3, is the feast day of our patron, St. Francis Xavier. We pray that through his intercession, the bonds of fellowship within our parish community may be continually strengthened, and that we may receive the graces we need to live good and holy lives during these challenging times and always. St. Francis Xavier, pray for us!
Starting this weekend, donation envelopes for the year 2021 will be available for you to pick up upon your arrival at the church for Saturday evening and Sunday Masses. To help us prevent any contamination, please do not take your envelopes yourself. Instead, ask our parish staff or ushers, who will be stationed in the Narthex, for assistance. Thank-you for your understanding and cooperation.
The religious calendars for upcoming year that we have available every December will also be in the Narthex starting next weekend.
Please visit this weekend’s online bulletin for additional announcements from the parish.
As always, for those who are not able or prefer not to attend Mass in person at this time, you are invited to join our community in worship from your home by accessing this Sunday’s live-streamed Mass at 9:00am.