Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In this Sunday’s Gospel, the Second Sunday of Advent, we hear John the Baptist proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” recalling that there is a twofold purpose of the Advent Season. One is to prepare for the celebration of the first coming of Jesus, the infant born in Bethlehem. It’s fascinating to realize that the word Bethlehem means “house of bread.” The Bread of Life, the Body and Blood of Jesus, was born in the ancient town called, “house of bread.”

The second purpose of the Advent Season is to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus at the end of time. At that time, he will bring to completion all that he inaugurated during his life and ministry, through his passion and death on the cross and his resurrection to new life.

Actually, the second purpose of the Advent Season is given more time and focus during the first two-thirds of Advent. Jesus told his apostles and disciples that he would return in glory. Even though the people assumed that this would happen in their lifetime, ultimately, only the Father knows the time when this will happen.

Since two thousand years have come and gone since the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, and nothing has happened, it’s quite understandable that we might become distracted with the day to day demands of life.

Recall last week that we read in the Scriptures that the Second Coming will happen similar to what happened in the days of Noah and the flood that destroyed most of human life and the earth. The people were distracted by their daily responsibilities leaving them to ignore the warning to get ready. They were eating and drinking and getting married among other normal everyday chores and duties. We, too, are warned to get “ready” for we do not know the time or the day.

Our readiness will be marked by personal “repentance,” turning away from sin and becoming more like Jesus. Please be careful if you are among those who say, “I’m a good person. I haven’t murdered anyone.” If you can’t think of any actual sins that you might be committing, you need to make an honest Examination of Conscience. Perhaps you can ask your spouse and/or adult children what they think. On second thought, make the Examination of Conscience. You might regret asking, especially, if you presently enjoy a good relationship with them.

I encourage you to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, going to Confession, before Christmas. There will be several opportunities to do this during December. Please consult the bulletin for our Confession, Christmas and New Year’s Schedules. During the week you will also receive my Christmas letter which includes a brochure with this information.

Let us journey together on this Advent pilgrimage of preparation for Christmas and the Lord’s Second Coming. Yes, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”