Advent

11-29-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving! As often happens this time of year, bulletin deadlines required me to write this column before Thanksgiving, so I can’t tell you how mine went. I can tell you that I was looking forward to it, even though it will be a smaller gathering than usual this year.

Today we begin the holy season of Advent. While it’s easy to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christmas, it’s really much more than that. The word Advent means ‘coming,’ and Advent is indeed a time to get ready for the coming of Christ.

As Catholics, Advent makes us think about not just one– but two–of Christ’s comings. While we are certainly getting ready to celebrate His first coming at Christmas, Advent also reminds us to get ready for His Second coming on Judgement Day. Indeed, it is that Second Coming that is the main focus of today’s readings. In the Gospel Jesus tells us to be ready for His Second Coming. He reminds us that we don’t know when it will be, so we should be ready for it all the time.

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The King of Charity

11-22-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is this Thursday? Time really does fly these days.

Thanksgiving is a good time for us to take stock of the blessings God has given us, and be sure to thank Him. This, of course, is something we should do in our prayers each and every day. We should also remember that we thank God by remembering those who may not enjoy all the blessings that we do, and practicing Christian Charity towards them.

Today (Sunday) is the Solemn Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! It is a day to remember that–in addition to everything else He is for us–Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). Christ the King Sunday is also a good time to remember that Jesus in very different from the Kings of this world.

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Doing Good Differently.

11-15-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of joining some of my family to celebrate my mother’s birthday. As you might imagine, it was not nearly as big a gathering as it would usually be. But both of my sisters and brothers in law were there, with three of my nieces and a few other family members. We were at the home of my sister Christine, who has lots of room and a spacious yard and patio. God blessed us with a beautiful day, and lots of time was spent outdoors. Like so many things these days, it was good but different.

With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I’d like to talk about a few good things we will do a bit differently this year. The first is the annual Thanksgiving Food for the Needy Food Drive. While social distancing makes it impossible for us to collect and sort all the food we usually do in Mercy Hall, we can still do some good things for those in need. Donations of food, cash, or grocery gift cards can be dropped off directly at Catholic Charities located at 387 South Main Street. TURKEYS are always a big need, and this year is no different. Please drop them off at Catholic Charities back door (on Sitgreaves Street – marked 387). It will be a big help!

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A Veteran of Two Armies

11-08-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

I’d like to start my words today by wishing a very Happy Veterans Day to all the veterans of our parish. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude and appreciate the sacrifices you made for our nation. I assure you of my prayers today and each and every day.

It always strikes me as appropriate that November 11, Veteran’s Day, is also the Feast of St. Martin of Tours (d. 379 AD). One of the most popular saints in the Middle Ages, St. Martin could well be called a veteran of two armies. He was a Roman Soldier who converted to Christianity as a young man.

There is a wonderful story from his days as a catechumen, someone studying the faith and preparing for Baptism. A beggar in very shabby clothing approached him for help. Moved by compassion, Martin cut his long red military cloak in two and gave half to the beggar as a blanket. That night, the future saint had a dream in which he saw a man using the makeshift blanket he’d given him, and realized the man had the face of Jesus.

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Imitation is the highest form of flattery!

11-01-2020From Fr. John's DeskFr. John Barbella

It’s said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. That old saying, which many of us have heard over the years, makes a lot of sense. If we really think highly of someone, we tend to want to follow their example. While we know we have to live our own life–we are well aware that we can learn a lot from many good people.

The saints are just such people. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a holy monk who was one of the best preachers of the 12th century, said that ‘the honor we show the saints does nothing for them, but inspires us to follow their good example.’ On All Saints Day, let’s remember that the best way to honor the saints is to do what they did.

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