Dear Sacred Heart Family,
Happy New Year!
No, I am not 1 month early, today begins Advent and our new Church year and I would like to wish everyone a happy New Year filled with God’s blessings for you and your family.
Unlike the calendar New Year, our Church New Year doesn’t usually come with a party and a countdown to midnight, but it does give us some specific things to do. Foremost, we are asked to begin to prepare for Jesus’ coming as did Mary. It’s a preparation we do on the outside and the inside.
On the outside, our Church will change its’ colors from green to purple, to signify we begin a season of reflection and penance. Also, we will hear to our Advent readings that will ask us to listen for His coming and to stay alert as He will not come in a way that we expect. Finally, our New Year begins a time of new hope and great expectations, symbolized with the decorations of lights.
On the inside, we are asked to clean our spiritual homes. We will do that through the sacrament of reconciliation (confession). For our part, Sacred Heart will have a communal Penance Service December 15 at 7pm. If that time does not work for you, you may always make an appointment with me during the week (some evening hours are possible) or come 30 minutes before weekend masses for the gift of reconciliation (confession) and a fresh start for a New Year. Let nothing keep you from God’s loving mercy, even if it has been years, His mercy is bigger than any of our sins.
Finally, we walk with Mary by giving our “Yes” to give Jesus a real home in us. We do this primarily by committing to actively participate in Sunday Mass and receive the Eucharist every week, and during the week if possible. Out of this recommitment, our resolutions for the New Church Year will be grace-filled not guilt-ridden as New Year’s resolutions so often are.
So often in the New year we pray for a fresh start, we seek to put something dead behind us, and so we should. If we can follow these easy steps, we will be well on our way to a happy New Year- not a perfect New year, not a pain-free New Year, but a happy New Year because we know it is Christ who is our true happiness. If you begin to make a new place for Him in your life, if you are willing to love Him in some new way, if you are willing to serve Him in some way you did not before, you will have all you need to be happy in the cold of the winter with the warmth of His Love.
With a heart for Mission,