Today we begin the new liturgical year CYCLE A with the season of Advent. Advent comes from the Latin word “adventus” which literally means “coming.” For many of us Advent refers to the coming of the joyous season of Christmas. But Advent refers also to the Lord’s coming at the end of the world. The call is to “wake up” (Rom. 13, 11) or “stay awake” (Mt.24, 43). It means waking up from spiritual slumber. St. Paul writes in the 2nd reading: “It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep... The night is far spent, the day draws near. Let us cast off deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, notsexual excess and lust.” (Rom.13, 12ff)

Incidentally, these were the very words which struck St. Augustine when he was sick and had nothing to read but the Bible. They so touch him that, realizing the futility of his wild and empty life, he reformed himself. And St. Augustine who joked with God, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet,” could only say afterwards, “Too late have I known you, O Lord!”

This 1st Sunday of Advent is also called “Handicapped Sunday.” It recalls the story of the nine persons who made history in the USA when they conquered the 14,000 feet Mt. Ranier in Washington D.C. Normally, the incident could not have merited much attention if it weren’t for the fact that the nine mountain climbers were all handicapped: one had an artificial leg, two were deaf, five were blind and last one was an epileptic.

Despite their handicaps, the nine succeeded in negotiating the arduous climb and getting back down again. Asked how they achieved this most amazing feat, one of the blind members of the party said, “We had a lot of help from one another on the trip. One lesson we can learn from this interesting experience is that the nine handicapped men proved that their physical defects were no obstacle in achieving their goal. Secondly, the nine succeeded in negotiating their journey with much help and support from one another. In some way, each of us is emotionally is emotionally and spiritually flawed.

“There is a crack in everything God made,” wrote the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Jesus commands us: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” You shall have empathy for your neighbor, you shall be concerned for and considerate of your neighbor. Love your flawed and handicapped neighbor as you love your flawed, handicapped self – and new life will begin to emerge from your physical or emotional cracks.

Key Concepts: Time. A true understanding of stewardship begins with taking care of and sharing the gift of time. Stewardship of time involves the realization that none of us “owns” time. Each of us is given only so much of it, and planning a careful schedule in order to have time to work, to rest, to play, and to pray is vital in the stewardship of our physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual lives. In a busy society of ours, time is one of the most precious possessions we have. How we spend our time is the clearest indication of our progress in a life of Christian discipleship.

This Sunday begins Year A of the Sunday Lectionary for Mass. On the 30th, we have the feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle. On December 2nd and 3rd we have the First Friday and the First Saturday devotion Masses of the month and the memorial of St. Francis Xavier, the Patron of the Apostleship of Prayer and of the foreign missions. We still continue remembering our beloved dead in putting a golden leaf on our TREE OF LIFE by buying in the office with $70 each. This is all for now, watch the next bulletin.

Your Priest – Servant and Parochial Administrator,

Fr. Reggie