Second Sunday of Advent, Dec. 8, 2019
What does it mean to be worthy? There are a few different ways to approach this question. Today’s Gospel highlights two: the way of the Pharisees and the way of John the Baptist. Our faith values good works and discipleship. Perhaps, then, we “earn” our worth by adhering to the right doctrines and following the right pious practice. The Pharisees thought they were worthy. Due to their religious pedigree and proper procedures, they were self-satisfied. John the Baptist’s words to them are strong. “Do not resume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’” Of course, Jesus (and John) don’t omit the responsibility for moral behavior. John gives the Pharisees quite a strong warning in that regard. “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance … every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” It’s a question of attitude. Of disposition. It’s a matter of the heart. If anyone would be worthy in this scenario, it’s John the Baptist. Jesus himself will name him the greatest of prophets and a great man. John, however, recognizes his own lowly place in the grand scheme of things. “The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry His sandals.” The Pharisees take pride in being “better” than others. John embraces humility in Christ being “better” than him. We don’t self-generate our own worthiness. We receive it as a gift from God. In a few short weeks, we’ll celebrate the birth of Christ. Bishop Ven. Fulton Sheen wrote about the Nativity in his “Life of Christ”: “Because [Jesus] was born in a cave, all who wish to see Him must stoop. To stoop is the mark of humility. The proud refuse to stoop and, therefore, they miss divinity.” God invites us to prepare our hearts this Advent. When you consider your own life, where are you looking for your worth? This Christmas, are you prepared to stoop?
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The reason the Advent season has its official color as violet not blue is the fact that like Lent it is a penitential season. It is a season to think about what sins we have committed and repent from them and go to confession. In order to repent and confess, one needs to be aware of what sins one has committed. I had in the past written an article pointing out sins that many people seemed to be unaware were sins – for example missing mass on Sunday and Holy days. But I have been made aware of another area people fail to recognize as sinful and that is when we cause others to sin. To give some examples: Viewing pornography – people have said to me surely it is the people in the films that are sinning and yes, they are but they would not be making the films if no one was watching the films, thus the viewer is causing them to sin and as a result is sinning themselves. ** Voting for a pro-abortion candidate – they are the ones voting for laws that allow abortion and against laws that prohibit abortion which means they are the ones sinning. Yes, but if you did not vote them into office, they would not be in a position to cast those votes thus you are sinning. ** Those that pass you on the highway on the right and angrily yell at you or gesture at you crudely – yes, they are sinning however, if you are driving slow in the left lane also known as the fast or passing lane – you are causing their anger for you do not belong in that lane thus you too are sinning. ** Someone who loses their temper at a person that has more than 10 items in the 10 items or less lane at the store is sinning but so is the person who is in the line with 11 items or more for they are causing that justifiable anger. ** Asking a leading question like ‘do these clothes make me look ugly/fat, etc.’ and the person thinks yes but says no to spare your feelings – yes they are telling a lie, which is a sin, but you caused them to sin by asking the question. These are just some examples; the list runs on. One should also stop and think before they act and ask the question: ‘What will this lead others to do?’ Then remember what Christ stated, “It would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be thrown into the sea than to cause one of these little ones to sin.”
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
“Therefore, every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Do you bear good fruit for Christ? Or, do you spend your time, talent and treasure constantly acquiring more toys, clutter and junk. Our time, our talent and our treasure are gifts that God has given us. What do we do with them is our gift back to God. What gifts are you planning to give to the Lord during this upcoming
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SICK
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, Bonnie, Helen Traina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Joseph, Christine Morrison, Jessica Esopo, Jack McShera, Theresa McPeak, Walter Eckel, Steve, Pat, Audra, Dan Marshall, Frank Bennick, Larry Purcell.
The gift of Bread & Wine for the second two weeks of December has 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 weeks of December have been given in memory of Stanley Czlapinski, the Eckel Family and the DeMeo Family by Maryann & Walter Eckel.
eGiving through Parish Giving!
Thanks so much to those parishioners who have signed up for “Enhanced Stewardship through Electronic Funds Transfer” for their financial donations. You schedule your offerings – it can be weekly, monthly, quarterly – whatever is best for your financial situation. There are no more envelopes to remember or last-minute check writing! Electronic giving is safe and easy for you and gives our parish steady financial assistance. If you wish to enroll just visit www.icchackensack.com and click on the Parish Giving logo. There are brochures in the back of church or visit Parish Giving at www.parishgiving.org.
Opportunities for Parish Support
There are several ways you can help support our parish and honor loved ones at the same time. As you may have noticed on the first Sunday of every month in our bulletin, we thank the donors of our Altar Gifts. You can donate the Bread & Wine, Altar Flowers or the Sanctuary Lamp in a two week block for $50 in someone’s memory. We have blocks open for this year.
We also have to purchase a new Easter candle each year (the tall candle on the altar) at a cost of $300-$400 which can also be donated in someone’s memory. You do not have to fund the entire amount, anything you wish to donate towards the purchase of our Easter candle is appreciated. If you wish to honor someone in any of these ways, please call the rectory.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2019
8:30 Maryann Petruzziello by her son Jesse
5:00 pm James Turk by Jennifer O’Connor & Mary Turk
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2019
8:00 Joan Mastrogiacomo by Fr. Michael Trainor
10:00 Musto Family by Maryrose Higgins
12:00 Michele Totaro by Mr. & Mrs. Vincent Caporrino
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2019
8:30 Annv. Carmela Uzzalino by Mr. & Mrs. Joseph Roman
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2019
8:30 Helene Schinski by Mr. & Mrs. Thomas Schinn
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2019
8:30 James J. Parisi by Mr. & Mrs. Robert Chinchar
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2019
8:30 Agnes Sari by Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Sari
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2019
8:30 James DeMeo by Maryann Eckel
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2019
8:30 Annv. Beatrice Graziano by Fr. Graz
5:00 pm Annv. Paul Stendardi by the Family
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2019
8:00 Stephen Gallo by Linda J. Sylvestri
10:00 Jerald Diaz by the Family
12:00 Earl Spence Sr. by the Family
It is the best way to ensure our parish receives the support needed for our operating expenses and ministries? 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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