4th Sunday of Advent 2016
The upcoming Feast of the Nativity celebrates not only Christ’s birth on earth but His Second Coming at the end of time. As the Gospel says: the Word came to St. John as the Voice of One Crying in the desert, make straight the paths of the Lord… for all mankind shall see the Salvation of God.” The Ember Days this past week gave us the opportunity to do penance in preparation for this great feast of the Nativity. It is important for us to realize that sorrow in itself, though necessary and good, is not enough. Our Lord gave to the disciples the power to not only forgive sins but to retain them in the Sacrament of Penance. This is why the firm purpose of amendment attached to the Act of Contrition is so necessary. For we must not only show sorrow for our sins and confess them to the priest, acting as Christ in the confessional, but we must resolve to live out our lives by doing good works and making reparation for our sins. It is also important for us to realize that Our Lord is the Supreme Judge who will judge definitively at the end of time. Withholding personal judgments in this life is our only safe course.