Hello everyone! This is Stacy’s husband, Matt. I am the guest blogger for this week’s post. The focus of my post is the theme of forgiveness found in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent.
In our reading, John the Baptist is baptizing people with a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” He is doing this in order to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah, in the Jewish faith, is someone whom God has anointed (literally marked with oil) to restore Israel as a nation and bring peace and prosperity to it.
For Christians, the Messiah who comes is Jesus, about whom John the Baptist says:
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
How often do we feel unworthy of someone’s love or forgiveness? We may even think we are unlovable. But this could not be further from the truth! We are created in God’s image and likeness. This means that there is (and will always be) something about us that is good, loveable, worthy, no matter what we may do wrong.
But let’s go deeper. John the Baptist knows that forgiveness is the way to prepare people for the Messiah (Jesus’) coming. Why is this so? God who created us, scripture tells us, is the God of love and mercy. In order to encounter God, we have to be open to receiving him, especially his mercy. The greatest conversion—and the greatest of saints—began their life of holiness with a powerful encounter with God’s forgiveness. In other words, to become holy we must be open to receiving God’s mercy. Likewise, being holy is all about being merciful to others.
Through a baptism of repentance, John the Baptist is preparing God’s people for holiness. During this Advent Season, how will you prepare to encounter Christ, the God of mercy and love? How will you begin (or continue) on your path to sainthood. (Don’t forget: Only saints are in heaven!)
St. Joseph’s Parish, as well as the other Catholic parishes in town, have set aside evenings for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes called “penance services.” If it’s been awhile since your last confession, take advantage of this great opportunity! I can tell you personally that this sacrament has made a huge difference in my life. It has helped me to believe in God’s love for me; and it has helped me to be more understanding and merciful to others, which is what holiness is all about. The Parish Penance Service is scheduled for Dec 20th from 6:30pm-8pm. IF that night doesnt work, Reconciliation is offered every Saturday from 3:45pm-4:30pm before Mass.
Word up. I am Stacy, the youth minister of this amazing group of teens. I have 4 kids of my own, 2 heaven babies and like 60 teens I consider very large children of my own.