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From the Pastor’s Desk 12/19/2021

The wait is almost over. Christmas is only 5 days away. Maybe your Advent has flown by, and you can’t that Christmas is already just around the corner. You’re asking yourself, where did Advent go? Or maybe Advent has been very fruitful for you this year. Either way, today is a moment to recommit. The Church gives us this 4th Sunday of Advent as a last reminder that Christ is coming. The first reading, from the book of Micah, reminds us that Christ is coming. “Bethlehem, too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel.” The Psalm says: “Rouse your power and come to save us.” And then the gospel gives us the meeting of Elizabeth and Mary. The wait is almost over, and Elizabeth realizes it. She says: “How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” There’s a sense of anticipation, someone is coming. And he is The Prince of Peace. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of peace in the world. Terrorist attacks abound. We have shootings in our own country. Evil and injustice can appear overwhelming. Is peace possible? On our own, no it’s not. The English philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that human life is nasty, brutish, and short. And if we look at life without Christ, Hobbes is right. But in the first reading today, Micah tells us something more. The first reading ends with these powerful words: “He shall be peace.” Who’s he talking about? Jesus Christ. Isn’t that interesting? It doesn’t say that the Savior will bring peace, but that He is peace. Why is He peace? Because peace means wholeness. If we are not OK with God, then we can’t be at peace with ourselves or with others. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta used to say: “I’m not ok, and you’re not ok, and that’s why Jesus came.” But in Jesus, in the sacraments that make him present here today, we come to be at peace with God. In the sacrament of Reconciliation, our sins are forgiven and we’re at peace with God. In the Eucharist, we receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and we’re united to God. And that experience brings an awareness of the great story into which all our individual stories fit. We start to see others with the eyes of Christ. So Christ himself is Peace.