Today is the 4th and last Sunday of the Advent season. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve! I hope that these last weeks of Advent have been a time of spiritual preparation as we celebrate the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord. We continue to give thanks and praise to God for the gift of Jesus, his Son, who comes to us as the incarnate word made flesh. Our gospel passage today tells us of the visitation Mary made to her cousin Elizabeth. We hear how the child in the womb of Elizabeth, who is John the Baptist, leapt in her womb upon hearing the voice of Mary. It is from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary that we encounter Jesus the Savior. On this last Sunday of Advent, we pray that God will continue to bless us with the many graces that we need to carry out the mission that Christ calls each of us to, that is to preach the gospel by the very example of our lives. May this Christmas season be one of joy and peace, that by the power and working of the Holy Spirit, we will bring the light of Christ to this world in darkness.
This past Tuesday evening we celebrated Advent Lessons and Carols. We had the great privilege of welcoming His Excellency, Most Reverend James Massa as the presider and homilist. It was an absolutely beautiful celebration of sacred scripture and music. I was moved to tears by the voices of our phenomenal parish choir. I take this opportunity to thank our music ministry team, under the direction of Mr. Rasaan Bourke and Mr. Joseph Murray. We are truly blessed here at St. Martin dePorres to have gifted and talented musicians who lift our hearts, minds and voices to heaven, not just on special occasions as this, but each and every single Sunday. I also take this opportunity to thank Father Daniel Kingsley who organized the Lessons and Carols liturgy. I am grateful for his dedication and hard work over these last few weeks.
I am indeed blessed to be the Pastor of 3 beautiful churches! I thank each of the decorating teams at our churches for their beautiful work in decorating the sanctuaries for the season of Christmas. On behalf of the entire parish staff, I wish each of you a blessed and holy Christmas season. Allow me to end with the words of our Holy Father Pope Francis. In his homily for Christmas last year, he spoke of the season as one of hope, leading us to Christ. He said, “Christmas has above all a taste of hope because, for all the darkness in our lives, God’s light shines forth. His gentle light does not frighten us. God, who is in love with us, draws us to himself with his tenderness, by being born poor and frail in our midst, as one of us. He is born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread”. In this way, he seems to tell us that he is born as bread for us; he enters our life to give us his life; he comes into our world to give us his love. He does not come to devour or to lord it over us, but instead to feed and serve us. There is a straight line between the manger and the cross where Jesus will become bread that is broken. It is the straight line of love that gives and saves, the love that brings light to our lives and peace to our hearts.”
Have a great week and a Blessed Christmas,
Father Alonzo Q. Cox