December 4 – Second Sunday of Advent

When I was growing up, my family would often host the various holiday gatherings. Inevitably, when Thanksgiving or Christmas rolled around and we were on to host, the family would go into an all-out cleanup mode. Suddenly, everyone had extra chores, and I still remember that my job was to Windex the tabletops and vacuum the carpets. The family went full court press on cleanup and our hope was to prepare a home worthy of receiving our extended family and honored guests.

We can make the same connection with the season of Advent. This Liturgical season is meant to prepare our hearts to receive Jesus Christ on Christmas day. St. John the Baptist proclaims, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” His mission was much the same: to prepare people to receive Jesus through the gift of repentance. Hence, if we’re wondering how to prepare for Christmas, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is always a beautiful way to prepare to receive Jesus.

It is important to note that, although St. John the Baptist’s message was proclaimed in the desert of all places, people still traveled great distances to receive his message of repentance. I truly believe that these travels themselves were even part of the preparation of repentance—showing they were willing to go out of their way to ask God for forgiveness. Likewise, any good confession needs preparation and effort. I would suggest taking the time to read through a good examination, whether it’s the ones in the narthex, on our MyParish app, online by searching for the “Knights of Columbus examination of conscience” or on our website under Sacraments and select Reconciliation (where you can find an Examination of Conscience for Children, Teens, Singles, Married and one in Spanish).

Now in all honesty, I have to acknowledge that when we had to prepare the house for our visitors, I didn’t always respond in the most enthusiastic way. I sometimes would only begrudgingly finish my tasks. However, the one thing that never changed was the joy that we all had in celebrating the holidays with family and friends. This can happen with the Sacrament of Reconciliation too! It might not be an enjoyable experience to have to acknowledge our brokenness and sins, but it will allow us all the more to celebrate the welcoming of Jesus into our hearts this Christmas!

In this spirit, Fr. James and I will be offering six straight days of confession this year. Starting Monday December 12th, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, through Friday the 16th, 7-8:30 PM, followed by our normal Saturday confession times. Our hope is to give an ample amount of time for people to prepare their hearts to receive Jesus.

Father Michael