Two Distinctive Opportunities to Witness to Our Faith
Dec 4, 2017
This coming Friday, December 8th, the Church invites and directs us to celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of our Blessed Mother. On this occasion, the Church highlights that God equipped Mary for the most awesome and challenging role that she was to play in the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As the Patronal Feast of our country, this Solemnity is a Holy Day of Obligation. This means that in the eyes of the Church, it is as important for us to gather for Mass on this occasion as it is to come to Mass each weekend.
THE MASS SCHEDULE FOR THIS OCCASION IS AS FOLLOWS: on Thurs., Dec. 7th, at St. Mary Parish at 7:00 p.m.; on Fri., Dec. 8th, at St. Mary Parish at 9:00 a.m. (with the School Community), and at Resurrection Parish at 7:00 p.m. Coming to Mass for this Solemnity is counter-cultural. Most other Christian faith communities do not observe this special occasion. What a powerful witness we can offer to one another and to non-Catholic persons as we make the special effort that may be needed to come to Mass this coming Thurs. evening or on Friday! Besides coming to Mass, it is important that we share with others why we do this.
Even though I am not Jewish, as a high school student, I was deeply impressed by the witness that a fellow student, who is Jewish, gave to his faith in God. This student, whose name is Larry Kaluzny, was a star football player on our school’s team. There was a school assembly to honor our football team. Larry was excused from attending school that day, including the honors’ assembly for the football team, because on that day, the Jewish Faith was observing a High Holy Day. Larry chose to be with his family at his synagogue on that day rather than be honored with the rest of our school’s football team. What a powerful testimony he thus gave for the rest of us in regard to his faith in the presence and working of God in his life.
As Catholics, we have an opportunity to witness along this line to the Faith that we profess. By shaking ourselves loose from what we might otherwise be doing by coming to Mass this coming Thurs. evening or Friday, we are sowing seeds in the lives of persons who are hungering for a meaningful faith in our Lord.
Next Sunday, December 10th, Resurrection Parish is to host the annual Mansfield Area Tri-Parish Advent Communal Penance Service at 2:30 p.m. Five priests plan to be present to assist with the Sacrament of Reconciliation. What a wonderful role the celebration of this Sacrament can play in our lives as we prepare to celebrate our Savior’s Birth.
All of us want to give the best that we have to offer for the persons about whom we care. At times, we can be down upon ourselves because we simply don’t have the money to buy what we would want to give to our loved ones. As we allow ourselves to personally receive the Lord’s forgiveness for those specific ways in which we have hurt Him, others, ourselves and the environment as this is offered in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we are set free to become the best version of ourselves. As we grow in this way, on the one hand, we will not be mastered by demands and pressures of this season that could otherwise overwhelm and drain us. On the other hand, we will grow in the ability to be there for others as the Lord wants this to happen. What a meaningful and beautiful setting this offers for all other expressions of generosity that we extend to others.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Nelson Beaver – Pastor