December 12, 2016

Announcements

•Our annual “Advent Lessons and Carols” service is Sunday, December 11, at 7:00 PM, in the abbey church.  All students are required to attend. 

We will celebrate the event with a holiday reception afterwards.  We ask that all parents contribute to the potluck by providing one of the items listed below. Your items should be delivered to the Our Lady of Perpetual Help room (the room with the fireplace) between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Please bring your donation in a disposable container with disposable serving utensils as we are not able to return serving items. We look forward to celebrating this special evening with you.
 If your last name begins with Aguilar - Hirota: Please bring 2 cases of bottled water. 
 If your last name begins with Hong - Nguyen: Bring a dessert item to feed 30 people.
 If your last name begins with Nixon - Watkins: Bring an appetizer to feed 30 people.

•The last day of school for the first semester is Friday, December 16.  Students will be dismissed after their last exam.  For most of them, this means around 12:15 PM or so.

•We do plan on having the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, but we are still waiting on the bishop’s office for a date.  More information to come.

 

Athletics

•The next soccer games are:  Tuesday, December 6, at 3:15 PM, at St. Michael’s; Thursday, December 8, at 3:00 PM, at Oxford Academy [5172 Orange Ave., Cypress, CA 90630]; Friday, December 9, at 3:00 PM, at Birdsall Sports Park [32555 Deer Hollow Way, Temecula, CA 92592].
•The next basketball games are:  Friday, December 9, at 7:00 PM, at Pacific Christian Newport [883 W 15th St, Newport Beach, CA 92663].

 

Sermon by a Norbertine Priest

During the second Sunday of Advent Holy Mother Church puts before our eyes the figure of St. John the Baptist, the last of the Prophets, a sort of bridge between the Old and New Testaments.  His own coming had been prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah, who called him the “voice crying out in the desert.”  St. John the Baptist really had one two-fold mission in life: to prepare the hearts of God’s people for the coming of Christ and to point the way to Him.  Behold the Lamb of God, he said, as our Lord was first beginning His public ministry.

God knows that we humans begin our learning by means of our senses:  seeing, hearing, and so on; and so He often uses physical signs to draw out attention to Him.  That’s why we have things like sacred art and music, the Sign of the Cross, and even the sacraments, which are very special signs, signs that actually communicate grace to us.  The enemies of Christ know this:  from the atheists who try to take down our war memorial crosses, to the losers at Starbucks who intentionally rid their coffee cups of any signs of Christmas on them, to the Muslims destroy churches—they all know the power of a good sign, the power to point the way to Christ.  When you see a Christian symbol, you think of the Savior.  

Christmas, along with Easter and Pentecost, is the holiest time of the liturgical year.  And even though commercialism has tried to destroy Christmas, it still is, thanks be to God, a special time.  In fact, when else can you actually hear songs in praise of Christ’s Birth in shopping stores and on radio stations—more signs pointing to Christ.  
As we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world, God wishes to pour out upon all men many graces; for, as Scripture says, “God wills the salvation of all and that all should come to the knowledge of the truth”, and again, “God does not wish that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.”  And while, it is true, there are many who will reject these graces this Christmas, it is equally true that there will take place many conversions.  It is a time of great grace for all.  Just as in the days of that first Christmas, it will be a turning point in the lives of many. 

Now St. John the Baptist, Scripture tells us, performed no miracles.  Whereas many, if not all of the other Prophets before him performed some sort of miracle, St. John performed none, and yet he still managed to convert many back to God.  He still had stirred up the hearts of so many, had impressed them so much with his preaching, edified them so greatly with his behavior, that they actually thought that he might be the Messiah.  But as Scripture tells us, “John was not the Light, but gave testimony to the Light.”  That is, though he was not Christ, he did fulfill perfectly our Lord’s command to be the “salt of the earth and the light of the world.”  And it is precisely in this way that St. John pointed out the way to the Savior.  When people looked at St. John, they saw Christ.  When they imitated him, they drew closer to Christ.  When they followed him, they came in contact with Christ.  St. John the Baptist was a living sign that cried out at every moment:  Behold the Lamb of God.  Perhaps this is why Holy Mother Church presents him to us just two and a half weeks before Christmas—so that we might imitate him. 

 

Yes, our blessed Lord will come with many gifts of conversion this Christmas, but who will help prepare the hearts of men to receive Him, if not you and me? He will call all His children back to Himself, but who will prepare the way, if not you and me? There are many lost souls in the world, but who will be the living sign, pointing them the way to Bethlehem? It’s up to us:  you and me—we who have already been given the gift of faith.  And like St. John the Baptist, it is not only our words but our example as well that is to attract souls to the Christ Child.  We are to do this always, but especially during this holy season of Christmas. 

Our Lord asks us just to do our part.  Live out your faith and bring it to others—even in the small everyday events of your life; and God will take it and use it as a powerful sign to bring others to Himself.  St. John the Baptist attracted souls to Christ, because he reflected Christ’s love.  When others look at us, do they see Christ? 

Here’s a real practical application for you:  As Christmas quickly draws near make it your personal goal to invite one non-Catholic to Holy Mass, or one fallen away soul back to the Catholic Faith.  And do it with all the charity and supernatural joy that you can muster up in your heart.  Just imagine if every practicing Catholic led one lost sheep back to our Lord! What a beautiful gift to offer the Divine Infant! 

May we all imitate St. John the Baptist during these days, with fasting, prayer and penance, and good Christian example, and so be living Christian symbols, pointing the way to Bethlehem for a lost soul, and in such a way gift great glory to Christ the King of Kings, to Whom be all glory and honor.  Amen.

Prayer Requests

•For all the benefactors of St. Michael’s Preparatory School, living and deceased.
•For all the students and families of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.
•For all faculty and staff of St. Michael’s Preparatory School.