|In this weekend’s Gospel, we hear the story of the ten young women waiting for the bridegroom to arrive and the wedding feast to begin. On the day the bridegroom arrives, five of them are shown to be wise, five of them ended up looking foolish. The difference between the two groups: “the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.”
The lesson of the parable is not about stockpiling supplies for the last day. God does not intend our lives of faith to be lived as if we were doomsday preppers, always fearful of not having the right supplies to be ready for the calamity of the last day. Instead, Jesus is exhorting us to be prepared by “stay[ing] awake, for [we] do not know the day or the hour.”
The question is: are we living in a way that is open for God to provide the grace we need for whatever may come? Or are we running on empty, presuming that we do not need to make any effort to deepen our relationship with God or live lives for hopeful faith and generous charity?
If these questions sound Advent-like to you, then you are already seeing how the liturgy is shifting to prepare us for the arrival of the celebration of the arrival of the Christ-child on Christmas. Believe it or not, we have already been planning for a several weeks for that celebration here at Mary Queen.
To help you prepare your Christmas plans, I would like to draw to your attention the way Christmas lines up with Sunday this year. Because Christmas is on Monday, this creates some challenges for us. The fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas eve are on the same day. This means that you may need to attend two Masses within hours of each other.
Also, we have noticed decreasing attendance at certain Masses. After discussions with the liturgy group and parish council, it was decided to make some adjustments to the schedule as well. Below is the liturgy schedule for those days with changes noted in italics:
Fourth Sunday of Advent
12/23 3:30pm Confessions
12/24 8:30am and 10:30am Mass
12/24 3:00pm, 5:00pm Vigil Masses. Children’s Pageant: 2:45pm.
12/25 12:00am Midnight Mass. Prelude Music: 11:30pm.
10:30am Christmas Day Mass.
There will not be an 8:30am Mass.
Thank you for understanding the need to make these changes. I pray that by informing you early, you will be able to plan accordingly.