We are at the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas is right around the corner.

Dear Parishioners and Visitors,

We are at the 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas is right around the corner. This year we have a very short Advent season. Only two days for the fourth week of Advent. Is it worthwhile to still celebrate Advent? What and why are we still celebrating?

It does not take much effort to look into our world and see the violence and chaos all around us. We open the papers every morning to find news of war and violence everywhere. And we do not have far to go from home to find the same dark reality around us. We are in a mess, we are a mess.

In the midst of all this chaos and violence, we encounter the voice of God in this season calling us to hope. Is hope a Pollyannaish reality or is it a real season for us to find peace and solace?

In the Advent season, and later into Christmas, we are reminded that God came and interrupted history. The birth of the Messiah implied that God was not a passive witness to our tragic reality, but that God decided to intervene in it. God erupted into our human history to give us a reason to hope, a reason to overcome despair, and continue believing that we are not alone. Now God is with us, Emmanuel. The seemingly unattainable God became one of us to show us the way, to show us how to hope and not despair. The apparently endless cycle of cynicism, corruption, and open violence has been exposed at its roots, and a healing balm provided for us. The eternal Word of God, through which all was created, came to us to show us the way to bring healing to our divided world and to creation as a whole.

There is reason to hope. We are not alone in our pilgrimage through this life. God has become our sojourner. There is a reason to hope. We are not alone fighting against the world and its powers, we do have someone with infinite powers who reminds us that we can conquer because he is our hope and strength.

Let's listen to the voice of Advent, to the silent message of Christmas. God is with us, never to abandon us. Now we hope and smile knowing that the One who loves us is with us. At times we forget this fundamental truth. That's the reason why we need to be reminded year after year in the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Enjoy this Advent and Christmas season and learn to listen to its powerful message. God is with us. God loves us. We are no longer alone. God came to us in the human person of Jesus. The unreachable God became our intimate lover. And it is in the warmth of this love that we learn how to hope.

—fr, Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.

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