First Down (November 26, 2017)

Dear Friends,

Next Sunday begins the Season of Advent. Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas. What sometimes happens is we prepare for just one single day December 25. Rather, our preparation is for our experience of God taking on your humanity and goes beyond just honoring the mystery for one day. The days after Christmas Day are when we reflect on the mystery of God reminding us that our humanity is sacred and holy because He created humanity, and with the coming of Jesus, He blesses our humanity. Sometimes it seems the new holiday tradition is to remind people to prepare for Christmas shopping the day after Halloween. It would be better for Christians to expand their mindset of preparing for Christmas. Our celebrating Christmas goes “beyond” one day and is a living reminder of what Jesus’ coming means to us today.

A theme that will be central to us at St. Patrick this Advent/Christmas is Living Beyond Sunday. Many in the world believe Christmas is only for one day, and on December 26, we are thankful it is over. Some Christians may think their faith is only lived or experienced on one day, Sunday. Living Beyond Sunday reminds us that everything we believe about Jesus Christ must be lived fully each and every day. God becoming fully human means everything we do as human beings is to be sacred, holy and valued. Going beyond Sunday means we do not keep our faith hidden when we go out into the world. People try to pressure us in to hiding our prayers, our morals and our living the truth in Christ. We Live Beyond Sunday by not being ashamed or afraid to live our faith.

For some Christians, they think that “church” stuff only happens on church grounds, at Mass, at formation classes, weddings, baptisms and funerals. They do not remember that every act of caring for another human being is Living Beyond Sunday. The simple acts of caring for a neighbor, kindness in driving, showing dignity and respect to those who serve you, forgiving another, letting go of the need to be right and still grow a healthy relationship are some of the many ways we Live Beyond Sunday. For many, it is a reminder to Christians that every moment of one’s life, every activity is sacred, holy and belongs to God.

We make sure our faith experience is not just contained in a book, a catechism, a Mass, devotion, a bible study, a prayer group or an official church ministry. Rather, it is these things and beyond. It is knowing everything you do Sunday, flows from Sunday and finds its source on Sunday.

Happy Advent!

Peace in Christ,

Fr. Eric