Advance Man

Dear Parishioners,

Back in ancient times when a king planned to visit a certain town, he sent an “advance man” ahead of him. Because few ancient roads were paved with gravel or stone, the advance man would have the people fill up mud holes and straighten out the paths. Another thing the advance man did was instruct the people in the proper protocol for receiving the king.

In the season of Advent, the Church is the advance man. It focuses our attention on Jesus. It tells us Jesus is coming and discusses how to prepare for Him.

In today’s gospel, John the Baptist was Jesus’s advance man. He saw that the roads were prepared and told the people to be kind to one another, just as Jesus teaches us.

As we prepare to celebrate Jesus’s coming, we, too, want to follow Jesus’s teaching of kindness to one another. Along with preparing to celebrate Jesus’s birth, we’re also preparing for Jesus’s second coming when we receive our final judgment.

So let’s see the church as Jesus’s advance man. In our kindness to one another, we’re following Jesus’s message of love. Then we will be preparing to celebrate Jesus’s birth at Christmas. We will also be preparing for His second coming at the end of time.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Advent

Dear Parishioners,

The season of Advent has begun. At this time of year, it is getting darker earlier and the temperature outside is colder. It is also the time of year when we enjoy coming home in the evening to the warmth of our home and to be with our family.

Advent is a season of preparation. We are preparing to celebrate the birth of our Savior. On the first Sunday of Advent, the first candle on the Advent wreath is lit. Each Sunday in Advent, an additional candle will be lit symbolizing that we are closer to Jesus’s coming into the world.

It is important to remember that every day for us is a time of preparation. In the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate when Jesus first came into the world. But every day we are preparing for when Jesus comes a second time and we face our final judgment.

During Advent, we may feel closer to one another as we buy gifts and plan for our Christmas celebration. We may also find ourselves being kinder to one another as we prepare for our special day. But the extra time we give to God and the extra goodness we show to one another is not only to happen during Advent. This is how Jesus asks us to live every day.

We truly show our love for God and others in Advent as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior. Let’s be sure to remember that every day is a time of preparation. So after we celebrate Christmas, nothing needs to change. Jesus will come again. Let’s prepare for His coming that day the same way we prepare to celebrate His first coming – through our love for God and one another.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

A King

Dear Parishioners,

When we think of a king, we think of someone of great power. A king is someone who dresses to represent royalty and is well respected. Today in the Catholic Church, we celebrate the feast of Christ the King.

Jesus is our king. He was very poor and had no material goods. He didn’t dress to represent royalty. Throughout His public ministry, Jesus was put down and ridiculed, not receiving any respect. Eventually He was put to death. So Jesus didn’t live up to our image of a king.

This is because Jesus’s kingship was not a kingship of power or royalty. Jesus’s was a kingship of humility. Jesus looked for nothing for Himself, just what He could do for His people, just what He could do for all of us. Today, as we celebrate the feast of Christ the King, we celebrate the humble Jesus, who gave His life so we could be saved.

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel that we express our love for God through our love for one another. As we follow Jesus’s example of love and humility, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life. And we will receive that gift by following the teaching of Christ the King.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Dear Parishioners,

You may have read this expression:

“What we are is God’s gift to us

What we make of ourselves is our gift to God.”

These words tell us that God has given each of us many gifts, i.e. strengths, abilities, talents, etc. What God asks of us is that we use the gifts He has given us. Making the most of these gifts is the way we give back to God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable where three men are each given a different amount of money. The first two men invest and double the money that was given to them. The third man, because he was given a small amount of money, decided to save it and didn’t invest it.

Jesus wants us to be like the first two men in this parable. He wants us to use the gifts God has given us, as we recognize how He has blessed us in so many ways. Jesus wants us to use God’s gift in a way so that we can give back to God:

“What we are is God’s gift to us.

What we make of ourselves is our gift to God.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Be Prepared!

Dear Parishioners,

Weddings have always been a wonderful celebration. At the time of Jesus, they would celebrate for days. Weddings weren’t at a specific place and time.

According to custom, the groom would go to the bride’s house to negotiate with her father. Then the groom would bring the bride to his home, and the celebrating would begin. On their way to the groom’s home, the couple was met by ten virgins carrying lamps. The wise virgins were prepared for whatever might happen, whereas the foolish ones used no foresight at all.

The gospel tells us about ten virgins awaiting the groom, five who fully prepared and five who weren’t. Jesus is teaching us to be prepared for when He comes a second time and we face our final judgment. We don’t know when that day will be. Let’s listen to the teachings of Christ and follow what He asks of us. So that whenever that day might be, we’ll be prepared for our final judgment and can receive the gift is eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Humility

Dear Parishioners,

A businessman met with the president of a private Chicago high school. To show his appreciation for what the school had done for his sons, he decided to set up a scholarship for needy students.

After working out all the details, the president said to the businessman, “Would you do us the honor of letting the scholarship bear your name?” The businessman said, “Let it bear any name you wish, except mine. I didn’t give it for that reason.”

This was a true act of humility by the businessman. He reached out to help needy students and wanted no recognition. He simply wanted those students to receive an education.

Jesus speaks to us about humility in today’s gospel. He tells us not to take great titles or look for positions of honor. God is our Father and we are all His children.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus teaches us about service, about humility. He tells us in today’s gospel, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” By following Jesus’s message of humility, we prepare ourselves for the gift of eternal life.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Love Can Change You

Dear Parishioners,

Years ago there was a movie called, Little Lord Fauntleroy. It was about a seven-year-old boy who went to live with his grandfather, who was a wealthy man and had many people working under him.

The old man was basically selfish and mean. But the little boy idolized him so much that he couldn’t see this. He thought his grandfather was generous and kind. Over and over he would say to him, “Grandfather! How people must love you! I’ll bet they love you almost as much as I do.”

To make a long story short, the little boy’s love gradually softens the old man’s heart, and he becomes the kind of person his grandson thinks him to be.

This story is like the parable Jesus tells in today’s gospel. It shows us how His love for us can change us and give us the power to become the kind of loving people He sees us to be.

Sincerely in Christ,

Father Dominick

Dual Citizenship

Dear Parishioners,

Some of you may have read the book, A Man for All Seasons. In this story, King Henry VIII of England was validly married. He appealed to Rome to have his marriage annulled, but he had no true grounds for an annulment.

Rome refused to grant the annulment. King Henry decided to take matters into his own hands. He remarried. He then ordered friends and officials to sign a document declaring that they agreed King Henry was right in what he was doing.

St. Thomas More, the English martyr, refused to sign this document. King Henry demanded that he sign or be arrested for treason and executed by the state. But St. Thomas More still refused. He remained faithful to his obligation to God.

Today’s gospel reminds us that we have a dual citizenship. We are citizens of the world and citizens of heaven. We have a loyalty and an obligation to each. If they ever clash, we can follow Thomas More’s example and remain faithful to our obligation to God.