When a man is ordained a priest, he kneels before the bishop and promises obedience. The bishop encloses his hands around the candidate's folded hands and asks him, "Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?" The candidate responds, "I do." The bishop then says, "May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment."
The bishop's line is taken from Paul's letter to the Philippians, the segment of which we have in our second reading this weekend. "I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6).
It's a great line. We could meditate and reflect on just this one line for an hour. God began some project in each one of us, and the project is fundamentally good. Each one of us is here for a purpose. Remember that when you're feeling down, depressed, alone, and without meaning. As bad as things might seem or be, it does not erase the fact that God began a good work in you.
Now, if you fall on the other end of the spectrum—everything is great, you're a rock star, you've figured it all out, life is good—then read the line again. Yes, God has a plan for you and you are a good project, but the project is not yet finished. Saint Paul is expressing his confidence that God will complete the good work, which implies, again, that the work is currently incomplete. So, congratulations if you're doing well in life, but don't sit back and rest just yet. There is still more to be done.
And that's why Advent is a fulfilling time. It's an opportunity to take another step forward in the completion of the 'good work' in each of us.
Might we, including priests, take a step back at some point this week and ask, before God, if we are indeed a 'good work' and going in the right direction? May John the Baptist pray for us; pray that we are.
Please be sure to pick up your free copy of The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity by Matthew Kelly. This is our Advent/Christmas gift to you. And while you’re at it, feel free to take a copy or two of Beautiful Hope, also a free gift to you.
The Knights of Columbus Christmas Party was this past Saturday night. Thank you Steve Baggio and brother Knights for hosting. The SPRED Program has its Christmas Party this upcoming Thursday, December 13th, and word is that a special guest (Santa?) may be visiting!
This Sunday evening, beginning with the 5pm Mass, is Teen Ministry. If you haven't had a chance to hear Mr. deCastro's special music for this Mass, you'll have to check it out. He and the teens do an amazing job.
The Men's Club has its monthly meeting this Monday, December 10th at 7:30pm. My Tuesday Theology Talk at 7pm in the chapel will be on Handel's Messiah. We will analyze the scriptural references in the various pieces and particularly the connections to Advent and Christmas. On Wednesday morning I will celebrate Mass at Resurrection College Prep.
In case you missed it in last week's bulletin, we included again the Parish Annual Report. We did not reproduce my letter, but you can see some of our numbers for the year as well as completed and upcoming projects. As you can see, the back of the church is just about complete, including all new men's and women's restrooms, a new cry room, a new bridal room/meeting room in the old bathroom, and a new hospitality area in the old usher's room. Thank you again for your support of and dedication to the parish.
Yours in Christ,