Pastor's Corner Dec 2 2018

The Christmastide schedule is inserted into the bulletin today. Extra copies are also available on the back table. Please keep this for future reference, and perhaps give one to a friend too.

Traditional Catholic wall calendars will be available for sale next week. These are produced by the Fraternity of St. Peter as a service to the faithful and as a modest fund-raising effort. Keep yourself liturgically up-to-date!

Holy Communion: Last week I published a note about two postures: a) hands folded, low, while leaning on the rail for steadiness, and b) arms crossed, as an indication of a spiritual communion only, and a blessing. Thank you for your assistance in this matter. Some precisions: a) As young children are not yet receiving, they may simply fold their hands, but never open their mouths. b) No one is ever obliged to approach the rail. c) If someone abstains, no one should be curious or ask why. Not your business! It's be-tween the communicant and their savior.

Parents—please tread lightly in matters of your child's "internal forum." You have no authority in your child's private life, except as it applies to the "external forum." You need to be helpful, but don't interfere. Be respectful, so as not to cause an unhealthy fear. "Feel free to ask me anything about the sacraments," is much better than, "Tell me why you didn't receive today." Importantly, encourage your children (by words and good example) not to be afraid to ask the priests any questions they may have.

Congratulations! David Howe, son of Billy and Cathy, is the former head of our altar boys. Emigrating back to Texas, he has found the love of his life. He and Hannah Bossé will be married on Dec. 8th. Please keep them in your prayers.

Assyria captured, exiled and enslaved the northern kingdom of Israel beginning about 722 BC. God tried to avert the exile through the prophets. God raised up an unlikely one named Amos who was a simple herdsman. Amos cried out: "The Lord will roar from Sion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem: and the beautiful places of the shepherds have mourned, and the top of Carmel has withered," (A. 1:2).

One nation split into two kingdoms; then fell to two captivities. Since the northern tribes were cut off from the temple in Jerusalem, this political division quickly became a religious one. The northerners fell to pagan worship. When Amos says the Lord will roar "from Sion," this is a clear rebuke of their false worship. Since the gods were typically worshiped on mountains, the "top of Carmel" is a clear spiritual withering.

In our day, the top of the Vatican Hill seems to have withered. Even Vatican theologians are adding their voices to the cardinals who are decrying the confusion and scandal. We are experiencing a spiritual exile too.

Exiles leave us mourning our beautiful places. What's the answer? Courage in the face of mourning. Courage! This, for three reasons: a) Not all go into exile, b) Some return from exile, and c) Some keep the faith, even in exile. Remember Daniel in the lions' den. As an exile in Babylon, Daniel refused to worship the Babylonian gods. Those who denounced Daniel were eaten by the same lions who left him alone.

Amos has good news too: he prophesizes the return: "I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel: and they shall build the abandoned cities and inhabit them: and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them," (Amos 9:14).

Advent is a time of preparation. Plan to spend extra time preparing for eternity. It's more important than anything else.

God reward your support.

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