Advent is a season that most people don't get a chance to really dive into; there's really no "big start" to it. I mean, Lent has Ash Wednesday, Christmas has Christmas Eve, Easter has the Easter Vigil, the Triduum has Holy Thursday, but Advent just has the 1st Sunday of Advent, usually at the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend. Christ the King is celebrated a week before, and Advent comes like a swimmer trying to swim against the current: the world wants to jump into Christmas, and the swimmer keeps saying "not yet". OK, this wasn't what I intended to write about, but the bottom line is that in this season of "waiting", I've been doing some waiting of my own. I know I could've been more productive during that time, but I wasn't. And, as an old boss of mine used to say, "You can't put the 'ding' back in the bell". So what'd I miss writing about?
Monday was the Solemnity of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. I just love the reading we got in the breviary yesterday (Friday), which comes from Saint Irenaeus:
"... the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband. As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; this the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve."
There were four Masses scheduled at my parish, and I had the 10am, the one which our school kids attend. How do you explain the Immaculate Conception to Kindergarteners? Verrry slowly. How do you do it in a homily that will give the rest of the school and the other people attending that Mass something to ponder and take home with them? Let's just say I tried. I spoke about "plans": some kids make plans for what to do after school. Teachers make plans about what to teach their students. Parents make plans about summer vacations. I then said that everyone makes plans, even God. Then I went into how, after the fall of Adam and Eve that we heard in the 1st reading, God planned to send Jesus into the world, and he wanted to do it in a special way. The 2nd reading said that God chose us, in [Jesus], before the world began. We didn't just show up; we were planned. God planned you and me, just like he prepared Mary to be a part of his bigger plan to bring Jesus into the world. The kids seemed to "get it", or at least they didn't have that "huh?" look on their faces.
At night (after a wake service) I had my monthly "Q and A with Father Jay" class. It was movie night, and in keeping with the Marian theme of the day, we watched the episode of Steve Ray's "Footprints of God" series that dealt with Mary. It's a great series, not only on a visual level but also from an apologetic level. Definitely worth having in a parish library. They got to see the Basilica of the Annunciation, the Church of the Nativity, what traveling to the hill country meant, the Church of the Dormition, the House of Mary in Ephesus, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and a bunch more, all from the comfort of the parish center.
Tuesday morning was the funeral for the woman whose wake service I went to on Monday night before my Adult Ed. Then, Tuesday night was a meeting of our parish's St. Vincent DePaul Society, which is our outreach to assist the poor (and of which I am the moderator).
Wednesday was my day off and I was gone most of the day, spending it with my mother. Though I did get to watch on TV, as the Devils beat the Penguins.
Thursday morning we heard the confessions of 2 grades in our school. This was the third week we've been doing it, so now the kiddies are all spiritually "clean and fresh" (or at least they were on Thursday morning). On Thursday night I had our 7pm daily Mass.
Friday was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I started off with the 7am mass (I love to tell the story and explain the details about the Guadalupe image), and eventually had to go to K-Mart with the head of our Vincent DePaul Society. We get gift cards for those who need them for Christmas gifts, clothes, etc, and he tells me they give a better discount if a Priest is there buying the cards. At night I had the last batch of new altar servers in for an orientation.
That brings me to this morning. We had about 160 of our 2nd graders make their first penance. Then I heard some more confessions at our regularly scheduled 12:30 time, and here I am! Nothing going on until the meet and greet after the 4pm Mass, and then I have the 5:30pm Mass tonight.
So how's your week been?