Saturday was nearly a true day off and it was wonderful. Son’s basketball game, football on television, tea at 4; it was nice.
The Fourth Week of Advent this year is quite short, but not nearly as short as last year, thank God. Attendance at the masses was below average (around 284, I think). I’m certain many families are traveling and visiting family out of town. I think for some, there is also a psychological barrier against going to church more than once a week and many will be at mass on Christmas Eve. On the whole, I do wish Advent had a greater observance among the faithful (not just in my parish). The season is so very important and adds immeasurable depth to Christmas when we finally greet Our Lord on that happy morn. I’m not meaning to kick those who haven’t been here, but I hate they are missing so much power and truth in this season.
For the homily, I preached on Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant. I took some of what I did at Thursday’s Priest and a Rabbi and went a bit further.
After the 11am Mass, I grabbed a picture with Officer Josh, one of our off-duty officers who helps with security. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a law enforcement household, but I do not understand the angst surrounding security measures in churches. Churches are indeed a place of peace and Officer Josh is an important safeguard to that peace. If we equate law enforcement officers with violence, then we have a bigger problem. And maybe we do have a bigger problem. I can think of a dozens of reasons why he would be helpful, and none of those involve shooting someone. Our officers are viewed as part of the family, because they are. Nothing gives me more joy than to see them peering through the narthex listening to the homily. Last Christmas Day, we recruited our officer to sing the choir (it wasn’t Officer Josh!).
After the masses, the cadre of volunteers greened the church and we have a brief, but important, liturgy walkthrough with our servers.
At home in the afternoon, I wrote the Christmas Eve homily and said Evening Prayer (O Emmanuel).