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Pastor's Letter

Posted on May 20, 2021 in: Parish-wide Announcements

Dear Parishioners:

We have begun this season of Advent, which marks the beginning of a new liturgical year and as such provides us a time for renewal, a new beginning. The beginning of the year actually points to the “end.” The end of all creation is marked by the long-awaited return of Jesus, the Son of Man. Our readings point to this end as the day of judgment (“Son of Man” being the scriptural title of the judge of all humanity).

The “end” reminds us that we are on a journey. The voyage through life is not an aimless wandering but has a destination and a goal.

Love is the basis for human life. God, who is love, loved us into being. Love is the force that orders all things toward God and a participation in divine life. When Jesus is asked what is the greatest of all the laws, he replies: “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Love is the basis and starting point. Love also expresses itself as mercy when a violation of love or justice is encountered. Mercy heals and restores. Psalm 25 expresses the desires that lie at the heart of the righteous — to know and live in God’s way. The longing is expressed by the psalmist this way: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day.”

The longing is not some abstract or aimless quest, for “good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way and teaches the humble his way.” He loves us so much that he wants us to know him and the path to and meaning of life. This Way is not a teaching or concept, but a person whose birth we prepare to celebrate at Christmas.

Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem Spring and Fall writes, Márgarét, áre you grieving Over Goldengrove unleaving?

That word – Unleaving – it’s a description of the leaves falling from the branches in a grove of trees. The trees, which were leafed, are now un-leafed.  The leaves have to leave the tree so that new life buds may blossom forth in the spring. In the departure, there’s also an arrival. Something springs up, just like the branches on the trees open new buds after a long winter.

Thus Advent provides us an opportunity, a time for renewal, a new beginning. Jesus’ call to vigilance is a call to love, to encounter him anew in word and sacrament and to follow him on the pilgrim path of life, to life.  To unleaf my life of anything that prevents the gift of new life, Jesus Christ, from blossoming forth.

                                                                                                             Advent Blessings!

                                                                                                             Msgr John Shamleffer

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