The Pharisees brought the woman, caught red-handed, before Jesus for judgment, and Jesus said, "Let the person who is without sin cast the first stone." They fell silent, and then, all of a sudden, a stone came flying from the crowd. Jesus looked up, surprised and amused, and then said, "Hold it, mother? I was trying to make a point, here." This is a humorous slant to the Catholic belief that Mary was born Immaculate to lead an immaculate life.
As we begin Advent season and celebrate Feast of Immaculate Conception, it offers us an invitation to set aside our busy lives and to examine and reflect on our need for God to enter our lives and prepare home for the coming of Christ. He will come to us in the celebration of the Incarnation, in His continual coming in our daily living, and in His final coming as our Lord to judge us all and renew the Father’s creation.
We are in the Advent season, which starts new liturgical year: Year C. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once wrote: "The purpose of the Church's year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart's memory so that it can discern the star of hope. It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us, memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."
The four candles represent the four weeks of Advent. Their light represents Christ himself, who is the light of the world. We light the candles gradually throughout Advent because we know that the joy of salvation doesn't come fully into our lives all at once. Our lives are a journey, a relationship with Jesus that has to be constantly renewed, just as a new candle is lit each week.
In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah was waiting and hoping for the coming of King David, who might bring security and justice to God’s people. Ultimately they were waiting and hoping for the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus came from the family of David. We have two ways of preparation: 1) preparing for Christmas and 2) preparing for the second coming of Jesus.
We are searching and waiting… Advent invites us to hope for something beyond. Advent is a season of hope. Our whole lives are an advent. As we are in preparation, let us embrace hope and become hope for others.
I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Feast of Immaculate Conception, especially to Parishioners of Immaculate Conception as the Patron Saint of our parish. I would also like congratulate our Confirmation Candidates and first reconciliation candidates who are being introduced at St. Anthony and Immaculate Conception.
Dear Parishioners of Immaculate Conception: I would like to join the Parish and Finance councils and the Cemetery committee to remember the late John Wagner with a grateful heart. He put Immaculate Conception Church and cemetery as beneficiaries, and we received the gift as cash and real estate. The church received four parcels of land and the cemetery received one parcel of land. You may see an ad with Birchland Realty Inc as we are working with them. We remember John Wagner with grateful hearts for his love for our parish and the Church at large. ~Fr. Shaji