Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy.
(Taken from Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter on the Year of Mercy)
Did you know that God works for the DOT and is about the business of road construction and rebuilding? Anyone who lives in the greater Milwaukee area knows that we are in the midst of massive freeway reconstruction. Cranes can be seen downtown as some businesses are building new office space or condos/apartments. Our gospel for today from Luke, quoting the prophet Isaiah, tells us this message.
“The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all
flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:5-6)
The salvation spoken of by Isaiah consists in two parts: repentance (our work) and forgiveness (God’s work). How appropriate that during this coming week on December 8, Pope Francis will lead us in the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with the theme of Merciful Like the Father. Jesus is the face of God, revealing to us the infinite mercy of God. As we acknowledge our sins, we come to the Father and receive mercy and forgiveness. The proof of our sharing in this divine gift will be our efforts to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. A special emphasis will be placed on seeking out and welcoming “the lost sheep”. Advent is a time to invite others to our family of four parishes and share in the mission of Jesus Christ through prayer, the sacraments and service. Please refer to the weekly bulletin and our parish websites for more information on how we will be celebrating this important Year of Mercy.
There are many examples of God’s mercy that are revealed in the lives of the saints who we celebrate this week: St. Nicholas (December 6), St. Ambrose (December 7), the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (December 8) and Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12). December 8 is a holy day of obligation as we honor Immaculate Mary as the patroness of the United States. Please refer to the bulletin or website for Mass schedules. For all of us, but especially for our Hispanic brothers and sisters, December 12 is a special feast as we honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all the Americas.
Finally I encourage you to extend God’s mercy by participating in the custom of the Advent giving tree. Please pick up a tag and purchase a gift for someone in need. Please note that there will be a Communal Penance Service on Saturday, December 19 at 2:00 pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.
Wishing you Advent blessings,
Fr. Mike Michalski