12-15-2013Weekly ReflectionFr. Jack O’Kane

Dear Parishioners,

Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again Rejoice! (Phil 4:4) This Sunday we celebrate Gaudete Sunday, or Joy Sunday and we are filled with great joy because we recognize how close our Savior is. As we move forward through Advent and draw closer to Christmas, one cannot help but notice the parish coming alive in so many ways. Almighty God has blessed St. Magdalen's with grace upon grace. Beginning with the beautiful parish-wide total Consecration to our Blessed Mother in October the Holy Spirit has been alive and active in tremendous ways and many of you have responded with great love and generosity to Almighty God in being open to His Divine Will. It was so readily apparent during Msgr. McGee's talk on Good vs Evil in October, and your generous spirit certainly manifested itself during Thanksgiving with the outpouring of love and donations of time and food to feed anyone and everyone that wanted to celebrate Thanksgiving with the parish.

With the dawn of Advent this year, our parish continued to grow in grace. Opening Advent with Forty Hours devotion is perfect for it sets our hearts and minds so perfectly on Who we are waiting for – Jesus Christ. It never ceases to amaze me how so many people will come at all hours of the night to be with our Lord. The volume of parishioners who gave their time to set up, lead the singing, prepare the programs or simply come and pray for their intentions was inspiring.

It was also uplifting to see the number of young children from our Religious Education classes attending the Forty Hours devotion. Jesus' words, "Let the children come to Me," ring true today as well. The children were asked to either write a paragraph about the experience or draw a picture of what they saw. Some of their pictures and words are very moving and show an understanding of Jesus' Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. This is a tribute to the parents of these children as well as to the hard working catechists teaching our young children about the importance of the Eucharist and all of the sacraments. Some of their work is on display in the narthex on the bulletin boards. Please take a moment to see our Lord through the eyes of a child.

This past week was very special. The Church spent Monday and Thursday in devotion and honor to our Blessed Mother Mary celebrating Her Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Immaculate Conception is a dogma of the Church and we hold and believe that from the moment of her conception, Mary was preserved by the grace of God from all stain of Original Sin. Her purity and perfection was protected by Her Son even before time began. On Thursday the parish was blessed to have the traveling replica image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in our Church for most of the day so people could come and honor Mary and her loving protection, especially for the unborn. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is one of the many miracles in the Church that we do not explain well. I would encourage everyone to read about this mystical, miraculous gift from Almighty God through our Mother Mary. She always wants us to know just how close God is to us and how much He loves us.

This evening, Sunday December 15th, is our parish Penance Service. It is a wonderful opportunity to put the bow on our preparation for our Lord's coming by turning to Him and asking for His Divine Mercy. All of us are in need of God's infinite Mercy and He freely offers it in the sacrament of Confession. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, comes at Christmas to save us from our sins so it is very important that we take advantage of this opportunity for grace and forgiveness. Our salvation came at a great price. Do not take this for granted but turn to God with thanksgiving and appreciation. There will be close to twenty priests available for Confession this evening at 7:00PM. If you cannot make the Penance Service please try to make it to Confession before Christmas. This is the perfect way to finish our preparation for our Lord's coming. May Almighty God continue to bless you and our entire parish with His grace and love and may the rest of this Advent season be a time of Joy and Peace for you and your families.

In Christ, Fr. Jack