Third Sunday of Advent

Dear Friends,

A friend of mine recently warned me about an ‘Advent Virus’ going around! Here is more info:

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many are already exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world. Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

How wonderful it will be if all of us were infected with this Advent Virus!! For many of us, cutting Christmas chaos can be a dream come true as this warning about the Advent Virus reminds us. But it is possible with planning, intention and lots of prayer. If you feel stressed or rushed, try this or similar prayer:
Loving God, help me focus on a peaceful pace rather than a harried one. I will keep moving forward gently, not frantically. Help me let go of my need to be anxious, upset, and harried. Help me replace it with a need to be at peace and in harmony.

As we enter the frenzy-phase of Christmas rush, I invite us to focus on the theme of Mercy that Jesus came to proclaim. I’m very happy that many have already made use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Saturdays of Advent when both Msgr. Brennan and myself have been making ourselves available in the Confessional with an extra half hour, from 3 – 4:30 pm.
Like Jesus our Master who went after and cared for the stray sheep, Pope Francis has been reminding us that the church is a “field hospital” for injured souls, where the wounded are welcomed and loved, not judged. If we hesitate to go for Confession or doubt the grace of this sacrament, listen to the words of Pope Francis:

“It is not easy to entrust oneself to God’s mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. But we must! … “Oh, I am a great sinner!” “All the better! Go to Jesus: He likes you to tell him these things!” He forgets, He has a very special capacity for forgetting. He forgets, He kisses you, He embraces you and He simply says to you: “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:11).”
Happy Advent!

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal