The Universal Church just started the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy on December 8, 2015 on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception and ends on November 20, 2016 on the Solemnity of Christ the King.
In the Roman Catholic tradition, a Holy Year, or Jubilee is a great religious event. It is a year of forgiveness of sins and also the punishment due to sin, it is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, of conversion and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consequently of solidarity, hope, justice, commitment to serve God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters. A Jubilee year is, above all, the year of Christ, who brings life and grace to humanity.
Therefore, this Holy Year is a time of special graces from God. In order to receive these special graces, we are asked and encouraged to do the following:
Corporal Works of Mercy: Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and shelter the homeless, visit the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead.
Spiritual Works of Mercy: Admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, comfort the sorrowful, bear wrong patiently, forgive all injuries and pray for the living and the dead.
Let us therefore take advantage of this year since it encourages us to holiness of life, to strengthen our faith, works of charity and brotherly communion within the Church and in society and to call Christians to be more sincere and coherent in our faith in Christ, who is our Savior.
Source: (What is a Holy Year? www.vatican.va).
Rejoice! Joy! Gladness!
Today is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudate is a Latin word which means “rejoice.” Today, we light the third candle (pink) of the Advent Wreath to symbolize joy as Christian Community!
Characterized by this Advent Wreath Pink Candle, we are now halfway in our waiting and preparation for the Birth of Jesus. This Advent preparation should be more intensified and fortified by our reception of the Sacraments, and by being faithful to our prayers as we await in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us rejoice and be glad for the Word was made flesh and now dwell among us and gave Himself for us through the Holy Eucharist.
“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Is 4b-6).
This passage always comes to us during the season of Advent. The same voice in the wilderness (now, in the midst of the busyness of city life) reminds us that we have to be vigilant, alert, ready and prepared. We challenge once again ourselves to prepare the Way of the Lord into our lives, into the deepest and most sacred space in our hearts. Let us make His path straight and smooth by going to Confessions and living a Christian life, not bumpy path because of our sins of commission and omission. Jesus came down from heaven to be like us except sin so that we will see the salvation of God in our homes and community!
December 8th, a holy day of obligation, is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Remembering and celebrating this feast with the universal/catholic Church, we are but led to thank the Lord God for choosing Mary. By her Immaculate Conception, she was made ready, with her free will, to accept the invitation of God to be the Mother of Jesus. On this day starts the Jubilee of Mercy! Lord Jesus, have mercy on us!
Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, appeared to San Juan Diego in Tepeyac, Mexico on December 12, 1531 for the first time. The same Mother of Jesus, whose maternal protection and love for the children of God, accompanies us in our Advent preparation to the Birthday of her Son, our Lord! And so, we ask her loving intercession to be with us in this earthly journey so that our path will always be smooth and straight! Our Lady of Guadalupe! Pray for us!