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Dear Parish Family,

This weekend a great confluence occurs. Gaudete Sunday, Bambinelli Sunday, the Memorial Garden Tree Lighting, and praying together for the miracles we expect. Gaudete Sunday is the Sunday of rejoicing. We rejoice because the Lord is near! Our vigilant watchfulness for the return of the Lord lightens as we receive more signs that Emmanuel (God-with-us) approaches. As God draws near, we light our Christmas trees and bless our Creche. The great miracle of the Incarnation draws nigh.

We are in the third week of our message “Expect Miracles.” By miracles we mean wonderful signs God does to indicate his plan and reveal himself. We began with the invitation to reflect on whether we believe in and genuinely hope for miracles. Or are miracles from a former time, just stories we hear about?  One key to miracles is that they must be recognized; we must notice in order to appreciate them. The Bible is full of God’s special action for salvation history, his interventions in small hidden ways as well as stunning public acts. And those who witness miracles, tend to expect them and believe that God will act. God will break into the humdrum to show his love.

Last week, our role was highlighted. We must do the possible so God can do the impossible. We remove the obstacles so God can act. But a large part of our role is not merely correcting the errors of our lives, as John the Baptist preaches this week (Lk 3:10-18), but also giving God the space and trust to act. Fr. Jacques Philippe put it so perfectly:

“It is important to know one thing: we cannot experience this support from God unless we leave Him the necessary space in which He can express Himself. I would like to make a comparison. As long as a person who must jump with a parachute does not jump out into the void, he cannot feel that the cords of the parachute will support him, because the parachute has not yet had the chance to open. One must first jump, and it is only later that one feels carried. And so it is in spiritual life: “God gives in the measure that we expect of Him,” says Saint John of the Cross. And Saint Francis de Sales says: “The measure of Divine Providence acting on us is the degree of confidence that we have in it.” This is where the problem lies. Many do not believe in Providence because they’ve never experienced it, but they’ve never experienced it because they’ve never jumped into the void and taken the leap of faith.” (Searching for and Maintaining Peace, p. 28)

Oh, the leap of faith, rushing through the sky with trust that the shoot will open. Saint Paul prays with this confidence for the Philippians. In his first words (from last week), Paul says, “I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you...I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:4-6) Paul abides in the hope and trust that God will act, bringing to fulfillment the work He began. This week, Paul counsels the same community, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” (Phil 4:6) We hear the trust and confidence in his advice. Another important part is to pray with thanksgiving, even before our miracle arrives. Ask the Lord with fervor and thanksgiving that He will show up, that God will be God especially for those who hope in Him. Can you make the leap of faith with thanksgiving?

This week we invite you not only to pray for our own miracle with thanksgiving, but to pray for the petitions of other members of our parish family, with thanksgiving! Let’s step out in faith and trust, not only for our own miracles, but we can lift up the special intentions of our parish members.

Lifting you all up in prayer,
Fr. Wilson