2nd SUNDAY OF ADVENT– Dec. 4, 2016
“Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.” John the Baptist does not mince words. He tells it like it is. When the hypocritical Pharisees and Sadducees show up piously for baptism, John calls them out, saying, “You brood of vipers!” Not welcoming words, to say the least. Then he tells them that being part of the religious club (i.e., children of Abraham) isn’t enough. No, “every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” It can be easy to join John in pointing fingers at those self-righteous religious leaders. But we’re usually not so quick to point fingers at ourselves. On this Second Sunday of Advent, as we seek to prepare for the coming of Christ, we also need to hear John’s solemn warning. How are we like these Pharisees? How have we excused ourselves because we are part of the “club,” because we are baptized Christians, regular churchgoers, better than others, or whatever justification we use to declare ourselves in good shape? How have we failed to produce good fruit by being satisfied with a comfortable life and a routine practice of the faith? What do we need to change? Where do we need to grow? How do we need to reach out and serve others, to sacrifice sinful behaviors, to delve deeper into our love for the Lord? John preaches today that God will “gather His wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.” Advent is a gift from the Church–a time to renew our spiritual life by getting rid of the chaff in our souls and producing instead a fruitful harvest. Now is the time to do this work. As John tells us, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
FROM THE RECTORY:
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this past week on Thanksgiving I ran an errand and drove past Best Buy where I saw two guys setting up camp outside the store to be the first in line on Black Friday. I am sure it was the same two guys I saw camping out last year at Best Buy on Thanksgiving Day. Now, I enjoy camping and a friend of mine and I have gone camping for over a decade now but that is in the woods not in a parking lot. I also thought how sad for these two young men to spend Thanksgiving Day camping outside the store rather than being home with family. I could be wrong but I suspect that whatever they were buying, their family would prefer their company on Thanksgiving Day over the item. As you do your shopping this year, please remember the true meaning behind the gifts and that it is the love that backs up the gift that is more important than the gift itself. Remember time with family and friends is a greater gift than anything that can come in a box. Items can be replaced but time cannot be regained once it passes.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
INSPIRATION FOR THE WEEK
We are reminded today that the coming of the Messiah is intended to restore the innocence and trust originally experienced in the Garden of Eden. The Gospel message leads us to this vision. John the Baptist prepares us to receive the One who will preach this message only to suffer and die as a result of it. We are asked to repent and move away from where the world desires to lead us. We are called to the vision given us by our Savior. Hope allows us to persevere as we wait for what is to come.
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
People who have had health issues or near-death experiences generally have a greater appreciation for each day being a gift from God. The rest of us usually take for granted that we will be around tomorrow. But when you start to look at each day as a gift, you realize all the little miracles that happen daily and grow in gratitude for all that we have been given.
MONTH OF REMEMBRANCE
Beginning on November 2nd, All Souls Day, we will pray for all the departed during the month of November. Please write the names of your loved ones on your All Soul’s Day envelope and place it in the basket. All the envelopes will be placed on the altar for the entire month of November.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the second two weeks of December has been given in memory of Stanley Czlapinski, the Eckel Family and the DeMeo Family by Maryann & Walter Eckel.
The gift of Altar Flowers for the second two weeks of November has been given in memory of Carmela Sylvestri by her family.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the first two weeks of November has been donated in memory of Frank Pizza by the Pizza Family.
REMEMBER OUR MEMBERS IN YOUR PRAYERS
Please pray for: Frances Trause, Kelly Chinchar, Kellie & Kathy Salata, Jessica, Juliana, Helen, Anthony, Carol Mangino, Jessica Calabrese, Lori, Jacqueline Carty, Gloria, Michael, Daniel Breslin, Richard McShera, Susan Brooks, John Moloughney Jr., Stanley, Marie, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Blase Coppola, Justin Duffy, Pete LaBarbiera.
Our COLLECTION last week was $ 2,142.00.
Budgeted amount needed weekly is $ 2,650.
Your generosity is most needed and greatly appreciated.
RECYCLE OLD INK AND TONER INK CARTRIDGES
Recycle Old Ink and Toner Cartridges Have old ink and toner cartridges? You can dispose of them by dropping them in the Recycling Box located in the back of church by the religious book racks. We will recycle them and the proceeds will be used for our parish.
Readings for the Week of November 20, 2016
Sunday: 2 Sm 5:1-3/Ps 122:1-5/Col 1:12-20/Lk 23:35-43
Monday: Rv 14:1-3, 4b-5/Ps 24:1-6/Lk 21:1-4
Tuesday: Rv 14:14-19/Ps 96:10-13/Lk 21:5-11
Wednesday: Rv 15:1-4/Ps 98:1-3, 7-9/Lk 21:12-19
Thursday: Rv 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9a/Ps 100:1-5/ Lk 21:20-28
Friday: Rv 20:1-4, 11—21:2/Ps 84:3-6, 8/Lk 21:29-33
Saturday: Rv 22:1-7/Ps 95:1-7/Lk 21:34-36
Next Sun: Is 2:1-5/Ps 122:1-9/Rom 13:11-14/Mt 24:37-44
New Jersey’s Adoption Law has changed Beginning January 1, 2017, adoptees and certain relatives will be able to obtain a copy of their original birth certificate without a court order. The birth certificate will include the names of the birth parents who placed children for adoption unless a birth parent requests their name be omitted. Birth parents who wish to preserve their privacy must submit a Redaction Request Form to the New Jersey Department of Health no later than December 31, 2016. The Redaction Request Form can be obtained by calling 866-649-8726, ext. 582 or downloading it at nj.gov/health/forms/reg-36c.pdf. The Catholic Church has always supported reunions between adoptees and birth parents, if such reunions were by mutual consent. The Church continues to do so through their Catholic Charities agencies. If you know individuals that could be effected by the changes to New Jersey Adoption law, please help alert them. Anyone needing assistance can call a HELPLINE at 609-989-4809.
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
Most people who live a grateful and generous lifestyle don’t go around bragging about it. But through their actions and words, others do take notice. They notice because of the joy and peace that results and other people desire this in their own life. Know that the way you live your life may be the only interaction others have with the Catholic Faith.