December 6th – II Sunday of Advent

My Dear Friends,

Stillness. Advent should be a season marked with stillness and silence. We are waiting, and yet our hearts are full of clutter and confusion. During this time of year, we are called to be at so many parties and events, to buy presents for a certain number of people, and we never quite get around to the stillness and silence that our hearts require to welcome the Lord.

Ah, but this year we have an excuse! This year because of the pandemic, we probably need to trim some of the fat off the holiday bone and take advantage of the restrictions imposed upon us to restrict ourselves to Christ alone. This past Thanksgiving, so many people were telling me how beautiful and simple their Thanksgiving dinners were because it was pared down and because they could focus solely on giving thanks. Let’s now take that mentality into Advent as we prepare to greet the Lord.

Why do we need to be still? I know we don’t want to look back on the early months of the pandemic, but when we were locked down, so to speak, we were limited to our homes. Obviously, I don’t miss those months, but I do miss the silence in our neighborhood. Usually, you hear cars speeding by or the sound of lawnmowers in the distance, but to hear and experience silence allowed one’s heart to be still, to be focused, to be open to receive the Lord.

Make time for silence this Advent. Make time for listening only to the whispers of our God. Break open the Word of God in this moment of need where we need the Lord more than ever. Read the Advent scriptures. Last Sunday we heard: “Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down…” (Isaiah 63)

Our hearts have hardened. We need to allow the Spirit to mold our hearts and prepare them to receive the Incarnate Word of God. In the stillness and silence of this Advent season, may we aspire not only to receive the Christ-child, but to be like Him: meek, innocent, holy.

We are not going to find the Lord in the shopping malls or even online as we buy things virtually. We will find Him in this quiet Church. It is open every day. When Mass or one of the sacraments isn’t being celebrated, it waits for you to embrace you with its silence. So many times, people wander in, they are captivated by its beauty and then overwhelmed by silence. They sit. They want to spend only a minute or two and without realizing it, thirty minutes or an hour have passed. When one is in the presence of God, and more importantly, truly present to God, then time has no meaning. The encounter with the Divine, the encounter with silence is more important than whatever the clock says.

This Advent make the time for stillness and silence, and let us watch for the coming of Lord with our Blessed Mother who quietly said yes to Jesus and teaches us to do the same.

God Bless You All,

Fr Manny Signature