Happy second week of Advent! A week ago, we began the season of Advent, a time of grace and preparation to receive Jesus in the manger of our hearts. It is one of the most beautiful times because, together with Christmas, they make us enter an atmosphere of peace and meditation on the great mystery of the incarnation. We are in the second week of the last month of this year, a year full of great challenges but with faith and renewed hope.
This second Sunday of Advent, we light the second purple candle. The Liturgy of the Word of this second Sunday invites us to straighten the path; John the Baptist, the voice that cries in the desert, calls us to prepare for the coming of the Messiah with actions that help us love, heal, and improve our relationships with God and with those around us. “Do not waste this time of mercy offered by God,” says Saint Gregory the Great. —Let us not spoil this moment suitable for imbuing ourselves with this purifying love offered to us. We can tell ourselves now that the time of Advent begins to make its way before us. It is essential to ask ourselves some concrete questions: Are we prepared, during this Advent, to make the paths for our Lord straight? Can I turn this time into a time for a more authentic, more penetrating confession in my life? John asked for sincerity—sincerity with oneself—while abandoning oneself to Divine mercy. In doing so, he helped the people to live for God, to understand that living is a matter of striving to open the paths of virtue and letting God’s grace enliven their spirit with his joy.
December is a month of many celebrations, including the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe; therefore, I ask you to celebrate them with much love and enthusiasm. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is a day of obligation. Therefore, it is mandatory to attend mass. The hours of the Eucharist on December 8 will be 6:30 am, 9:00 am, 12:00 noon, and 6:00 pm in English and 7:30 pm in Spanish.
On December 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we will have the mañanitas. This year will be somewhat different from previous ones; we will have, at 4:00 am, the Holy Rosary, and then we will have the mañanitas with the mariachi at 5:00 am, the solemn mass at 7:00 pm. That day, we will also sell typical food after the mass. Also, I ask those who wish to donate roses for the altar to Our Lady to bring them on December 10 or 11 during the day so we can have enough for the altar.
Also, in preparation for the Christmas celebration, we will have a penitential service on Wednesday, December 20; please put it on your calendar. We will be listening to confessions starting at 7:00 pm. We will invite other priests to help us and thus enter prepared to celebrate the Christmas holidays. I invite you to please prepare for this day.