Bishop’s Letter: O Come O Come Emmanuel

 

 

The one who calls you is faithful,
and he will also accomplish it.

1 Thes 5:24

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

During the season of Advent, we are reminded through Scripture to stay awake, to be alert, to make ready.  We hear descriptions of light penetrating the darkness. To be faithful is a common theme.  The fulfillment of the promise is offered to us.

As we have experienced the captivity of the pandemic, the Word of God, the promise of the fulfillment of the Covenant, is a salve to our soul.  We pray, O come O come, Emmanuel!  The Word offers us hope and we rejoice in God our Savior.  We are humbled as we hear God is faithful to us!  It is God alone at work within us.  He accomplishes all for our well-being; His plan of salvation.  What joy we are given!

You might think there isn’t much joy in the pandemic.  Yes, we are always able to look at the world around us and focus on doom or gloom. The season of Advent is about the gift of God’s light penetrating our darkness.  The darkness is not caused by the pandemic itself.  The darkness is caused by our being stuck in the virus of indifference.  Pope Francis said that people can be “the antibodies to the virus of indifference. They remind us that our lives are a gift and we grow by giving of ourselves, not preserving ourselves but losing ourselves in service.”

God sent His only Son into the world to model it for us.  He sent Jesus to teach us how the earth is His heavenly kingdom on which God placed us that we might carry His love to one another.  He called us to bring forth the common good.  Pope Francis said, “Looking to the common good is much more than the sum of what is good for individuals. It means having a regard for all citizens and seeking to respond effectively to the needs of the least fortunate.”

The joy of the season of Advent is filled with always seeking what is good for each other and for all (1 Thes 15).  Always we seek the common good, rather than what we want or prefer.  To receive this joy and to offer it to each other will require sacrifice.  It will require what Mary, our Blessed Mother, offered to God, her fiat.  Mary promoted the good of all, rather than thinking only of herself.  Her fiat gave us the greatest gift of service, Emmanuel, God with us.

What can you do to serve the common good?  Pray unceasingly.  Write a card to someone you know who is alone.  Call a friend or family member.  If you are able, make a donation, either in-kind or financial, to Catholic Charities of Central Florida.  Smile at one another.  Smiles take up the entire face and cannot be missed, even when the mask is worn.  Gather as a family and light a candle of the Advent wreath once a week and pray together.  Talk with each other about how you have served or are serving.  Come to the celebration of Mass and receive Him.  We offer ourselves to God as gifts to Him and then these gifts are sanctified through the Eucharist.  Nourished, renewed and refreshed, we go forth to be as Christ to one another in our daily living.  It is a mighty responsibility and a true joy to participate in the Eucharist and to live as Christ among us. Mighty because we take on the sorrows of others to bring them comfort, to serve them.  A true joy because we are comforted in the knowledge that God is with us through this Bread of Life.

Bear God’s fruit and multiple it.  May we be worthy of God’s faithfulness.