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Second Sunday of Advent

St. Ambrose shares some wisdom on our need to prepare the way and open the door for Christ. “You see that when the Word of God knocks hardest on your door, it is when his hair is wet with the dew of the night. In fact, he chooses to visit those who are in tribulation and trial, lest one of them be overwhelmed by distress. So, his head is covered with dew, with drops, when his body is laboring hard. It is important to keep watch so that when the Bridegroom comes, he is not shut out. If you are asleep and your heart is not keeping watch, he will go away without knocking; but if your heart is alert for his coming, he knocks and asks for the door to be opened to him.” When life gets overwhelming and difficult and we find ourselves feeling a bit downhearted and miserable, these words can bring great comfort. We sometimes choose to remain stuck in our uncomfortable darkness and being stuck becomes our norm. In this time of self-focus our hearts are closed to the graces and life God desires to give us. Wrapped in the robe of mourning and misery, we fail to see the mercy, justice, and love the Bridegroom wants to bring. If we take seriously the need to prepare the way for Christ and open our hearts in preparation for his visit, we can hear God’s gentle voice calling us deep within. It beckons us to seek out its source and discover the inner calm and peace that can prevail over the darkness of despair. Sometimes our darkness is so dark that it may seem unsurmountable. Trusting in the spiritual friends who journey with us, and God’s promise may bring a glimmer of light even when it is most difficult to keep our hearts’ doors open. Sometimes, the only light in the darkness is found in trusting the faith of others both past and present. We have to trust that God has already begun the accomplishment of good work in us and that humanity is on an incredible journey to something wonderful and awesome. God is not done. When we open the doors of our hearts, straighten the paths of our lives, and prepare the way, Jesus can come with God’s simple gifts of peace, grace, and joy. Life throws a great deal at us. It is easy to get tired and confused. We have to train our hearts to keep watch, discern what is of value, and forge ahead. Not allowing ourselves to become so weighed down by things and brought out of focus is a tremendous goal to achieve this Advent season. God is knocking. Answer the door. You will see and understand life in ways you never thought possible before.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Below is an article I wrote a couple of years ago but it still applies today so I thought it was worth repeating:
 The other day I was reading Dear Amy in the paper and the person that wrote to her stated that her brother was no longer talking to her for he had bought some expensive gift for his newborn niece and his sister failed to send him a thank you card for the gift. I mention this to you for we are now in the second weekend of Advent and in the middle of the Christmas gift buying season. The above situation had me thinking about what motivates us to buy the gifts we buy for others? For that matter what motivates us to do kind acts for others like holding open a door or letting someone pull into traffic ahead of you? I understand why the brother was upset about not getting a thank you card for it is the polite thing to do if you receive a gift just like it is the right thing to say if someone holds the door for you or give a wave of thanks if they let you into traffic. I also admit I used to get upset myself if I did not receive the proper form of thank you. I would grumble if I held the door or let someone into traffic and was not thanked. “I didn’t have to hold the door” or “I did not have to let you into traffic”. But I came to realize that I was wrong! For as much as a thank you would be nice is that why I am giving the gift or doing the kind act! I had to ask myself that when I give a gift is it out of love for the person I am giving the gift to or is it to get attention and praise for being so generous? Is it about them or about me? You see if we give a gift or do a kind act because we are looking for the recognition for what we have done then we are not doing it out of love for others but rather out of love for ourselves…now that is rude and self-centered. Let us this Christmas not look for praise or recognition when we give gifts but rather let us give from our hearts, let us give because we love the other more than ourselves.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael

 Prayer for our Nation
God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people. Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
“And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value…”
During the Christmas shopping season, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy of buying gifts. But, is that “gift” truly an expression of our love for the other person. Or, are you just fulfilling your “obligation” to give them something? To grow in friendship with someone, you need to spend time with them, learn what is of value to them. Maybe this year, buy less “stuff” and spend more time with those you love.

Confession with Father Michael is available through appointment only. Please contact the Rectory at (201) 440-2798

THERE ARE SIGN UP SHEETS IN THE VESTIBULE FOR LECTORS AND EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS FOR CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S MASSES.


 
PRAYER REQUESTS
That God will relieve their suffering and restore them to health. Please pray for:
Kellie Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Joseph, Jessica Esopo, Nancy McShera, Theresa McPeak, Walter Eckel, William, Steve, Audra, Philip, Doria, Frank Bennick, Bernadette, Francis Reilly, James Weiss, Chrissy Martin, Anne Trainor, Don Trainor, Rosemary Malangone, Elizabeth Malangone, Billy, Baby Ford, Carly West, Marie Goodman, Patrice Duffy, Fred Whiting.

The gift of Bread & Wine for the first two weeks of December has been given in memory of James Sylvestri by Jesse Sylvestri & Family. The second two weeks have been given in memory of Juana Maldonado & Charles Sylvestri by Jesse & Joanna Sylvestri.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the first two weeks of December has been given in memory of Carmela & Augie Sylvestri by Jesse & Joanna Sylvestri. The second two
Thank you to everyone who donated to our Turkey Drive. We collected enough food to feed 47 families. We greatly appreciate each and every one of you!!
We would like to thank all the people who donated flowers and gave their time to decorate our altar. 

Altar gifts are a beautiful way to honor your loved ones while also helping our parish. There are some two week blocks still available in 2021. Please contact the rectory if you are interested.

Praying the ROSARY
The Rosary is a meditation, a time to recall and think about the life of Jesus as seen and experienced by Mary. As the model of faith, Mary’s life sets a pattern that we strive to follow: saying ‘yes’ to God’s will in our lives and sharing His love and message with others. The Mysteries of the Rosary form a mini lesson of faith, using the highlights and significant moments of the life of Jesus. Like paging through a family scrapbook, we see in brief the events of salvation history that are the core of our belief and the hope of our eternal life.

Recycle Old Ink and Toner Cartridges
There is a receptacle on the table in the back of church for the small cartridges. Large ones can be left under the table. If you have a bunch, please call the rectory and we can arrange to meet you at the garage doors and we can put them in the garage instead of you lugging them into the church.

Prayer for A Pandemic

It is the best way to ensure our parish receives the support needed for our operating expenses and ministries by eGiving through Parish Giving! We are excited to introduce “Enhanced Stewardship through Electronic Funds Transfer” for your weekly offertory. No more envelopes or last-minute check writing! Electronic giving is safe and easy for you and good stewardship for the parish. Please enroll today by visiting www.icchackensack.com. and click on the logo that is on top of the website. Increased enrollment with Parish Giving will help stabilize our parish finances. There are brochures in the pews or visit Parish Giving at www.parishgiving.org

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