Christmas Message 2010
Dear CFC Brothers and Sisters:
I wish Christmas greetings to each of you!
Christmas will soon come at the end of Advent Season. Advent is a time for each of us, for our households and the CFC Community to prepare for the coming of Jesus into our lives in a more profound way. Christmas Day is a time for us to give and receive and to share meals together. It is a day to remember God's Salvation given to us when he sent his son, Jesus to share in our humanity. The coming of weeks of Advent will come and go quite quickly. On Christmas some of us will be with families, others will not. But Jesus, at the center of our lives, will remind us not only of our CFC family, but of our Church family.
The highlight of Christmas is always the celebration of our Christmas Masses. It is when we gather with our Christian Community for the Eucharist or Thanksgiving to God for the salvation he gives us in his son, Jesus. Christmas Day will be a time to take some quiet time and reflect not merely on the Christmas stories of the Birth of Jesus, but also to relfect on how Jesus has entered your lives and mine in 2010.
We are already eleven years into the third Millennium. Many will recall the celebrations around the world as we began this Millennium over a decade ago. How fast time passes! Our Advent Wreath with the four candles reminds you and me that time is passing. Another year has passed since last we gathered. There are some who were here last year and have moved on. Others are with us for the first time. Yet we continue to be one community.
In 2011 our local church will be focused on moving ahead with our Diocesan Synod. Our Theme is Renewed in Christ and Renewed in His Church. Your households and leaders have gone through an awakening or Advent of this Synod by looking at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats both for CFC and for our Church in Bermuda. I believe that this exercise has created an awareness of what makes us good, where are failing and what we need to do during this coming year to grow closer to Jesus. As I often have said both here and in church I believe that there are two simple ways that open us to Jesus. I would like to recommend for this coming year these two simple ways.
First - if we are going to grow closer to Jesus we need to take time to allow Jesus to speak to us privately by reading the Gospels and New Testament. This will allow us to see what our Brother Jesus is saying and doing for us to imitate. Then in our households and in our assemblies the time for listening to Jesus will have more meaning and it will draw our community closer to Jesus. Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI concluded his recent Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini - the summary of the recent Synod of Bishops on the 40th anniversary of the Vatican II Constitution on the Bible, Verbum Dei - "May every day of our lives thus be shaped by a renewed encounter with Christ, the Word of the Father made flesh: he stands at the beginning and the end, and "in him all things hold together" (Col 1:17). Let us be silent in order to hear the Lord's word and to meditate upon it, so that by the working of the Holy Spirit it may remain in our hearts and speak to us all the days of our lives."
Second - it is important to let Jesus know our thoughts and feelings as we live each day. This is called prayer - a lifting of our minds and hearts to God. It can only happen when we respond to God's "be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:11). Our prayer ought to pattern itself on Jesus' prayer when we give praise to God, thank him for his blessings, ask his forgiveness for our failures and then ask him for our needs. The Lord's Prayer puts these four parts together in a simple way, if we take time to reflect on the words as we pray them and not just rhyme them off.
I pray that God will abundantly bless each of you and your families at this Christmas Season and in 2011 as you make it a year to be Renewed in Christ and Renewed in his Church. This is the call of our Bishop for our Diocesan Synod Process this year and next.
Father Joseph Palubeski, CR, Spiritual Director