Download - Parish Bulletin - December 2013
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PREPARE THE WAY FOR THE LORD
My Dear Brothers, Sisters and Children,
The commercial world is agog with activity preparing for the Christmas season with Santa Claus, Christmas trees, all kinds of gifts and their sale everywhere we turn. However, many are ashamed or afraid of acknowledging “the Reason for the Season”, the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So, instead of greeting each other with “Merry Christmas”, they say “Happy Holidays”, blotting out Jesus from the picture. But we, as Christians, are called upon to declare to the whole world that Jesus is the Reason for the Season and prepare ourselves to receive Him into our hearts. Jesus is the Light that delivered us from the darkness of sin into the light of the children of God.. The liturgical year of the Syro-Malabar Church begins with the Period of Annunciation (MagalavarthaKalam). The Church earnestly asks the faithful to prepare their hearts and homes during the Season of Advent through fasting and prayer to welcome the Lord.
In another four weeks we will be reflecting and meditating on:
How do we prepare to welcome Jesus? During this Season of Advent God has a special grace to give each one of us. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem for the last time he cried because the people of Jerusalem did not recognize the time of His visitation (Luke 19:41-42). Let us not miss out on the time of His visitation.
How do we receive the grace God is offering us in this season of grace? Spend more time in prayerful reflection with God searching for the one thing that stands in the way of your total surrender to Him. Look forward with anticipation to spending time with God in prayer each day of the season. Become a good neighbor to someone in need. If Advent is only a time of giving and receiving gifts that people do not need , it is an affront to what Jesus is stands for. There is only one gift at Christmas. That gift is Jesus. Advent is a time to renew and deepen our relationship with God, “Like the deer that yearns for running streams ,so my soul is yearning for you my God.” (Ps.42:1) “In God alone is my soul at rest; my help comes from him. He alone is my rock, my stronghold, my fortress: I stand firm.” (Ps 62:1-2) This longing will not be satisfied by anything you find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. This thirst of the human soul can be quenched by no material things or human beings ,but Jesus alone. God has made us to love and serve Him, as St Augustine says in his Confessions,. “ … and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” To receive the grace that God offers us this Advent Season, let us reflect on whether our lives are modeled on the life of Jesus whose birth we are about to celebrate. Is Jesus the one we look to for guidance? Is Jesus the one who is shaping our lives? This process has to begin with an honest examination of conscience followed by a sincere reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we examine our consciences we recognize that our lives are not modeled after that of Jesus. We receive the unfathomable mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that our hearts can become a manger to receive Jesus, the Light of the world.
May Christ be born in your heart. I wish you all a joyful Advent Season and a Merry Christmas.
Fr. Mathew Elayadathamadam,MSFS (Vicar)
St. Alphonsa Catholic Church
Mar George Alencherry was born on 19th April 1945 in the parish of Thuruthy in the archdiocese of Changancherry as the sixth child of the ten children of Mr. Philipose and Mary Alencherry of whom two others are priests (Fr. Jose Alencherry and Fr. Francis Alencherry, SDB) and one, a religious sister (Sr. Cherupushpam, S.A.B.S.). Geevarghese is his baptismal name. Mar George Alencherry had his primary schooling at St Mary’s School, Thuruthy and secondary education at St Berchman’s High School, Changanacherry read more...