The Hope We All Need

12-12-2021From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As we have been getting ready for Christmas the previous two Sundays we have been reminded by the prophets Jeremiah, Baruch, and John the Baptist that God has promised to eliminate all obstacles to His coming presence into our midst. The valleys will be filled in, the mountains leveled, and the crooked roads straightened. Our obstacles to God’s presence are not physical but the busyness, problems, and concerns of our daily lives. The key is to recognize that God did not come in Jesus to put a burden on us, to take away time and energy from our daily lives, but to enrich, guide, and walk with us in all we say and do every day. It is so important to take some time everyday to pray, to focus on Jesus’ presence in our lives and His presence in ours. We are still in the midst of the coronavirus and another strain of it now called the Omicron strain. Our lives have certainly been disrupted and challenged this past year and a half. Where is the light? Where is the hope we all need? The answer is what we are preparing to celebrate on Christmas Day and in reality what we need to celebrate and focus on every day of our lives - Jesus’ presence in our lives and our presence in His. God knows us much better than we know ourselves and has come to walk with us Himself in Jesus.

A week ago Saturday I was blessed and uplifted to be part of another step forward in our respect for life and battle against abortion as I was part of the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the new life center called “Women First” at 91 Maple Avenue right here in Smithtown. What a blessing to have a place just 400 feet south of Planned Parenthood at 70 Maple Avenue in Smithtown. Now those facing the temptation to have an abortion have another choice just 400 feet away. This new Life Center will provide counseling, encouragement, and true facts about who is growing in the womb of a pregnant mother. The resources are far more than words, they include the various physical things parents need. There is one room dedicated to collecting items that will be given to expectant parents. They also refer them to the Gianna Center run by our diocese for a free sonogram. As we stand behind the truth that will set us free, there is far more than advice and options offered. We continue to pray every day for an end to abortion at the Masses here at St. Patrick’s. This new Life Center is certainly a hopeful answer in a very clear way.

A week and a half ago the Supreme Court of our nation heard arguments for and against abortion. How scary to think that the basic moral code we and all people need - given to the Jewish people when Moses went up on the mountain and received the Ten Commandments from God more than 3,000 years ago on Mount Sinai - is obsolete or negotiable. The fifth Commandment is very clear: You Shall Not Kill! While we are tempted to think we are far more advanced than those who have preceded us thousands of years ago, our common humanity which is the image and likeness of God has not changed. We need one another with the guidance, wisdom, love, and presence of God. Every human life is sacred, imaging God, and deserving of our respect, love, and concern. Our God is far more than any supreme court, He is the Supreme Being.

Jesus came into a confused and unwelcoming world. He was rejected but He refused to walk away. He gave the ultimate gift, His very life for us. It is that life He gives to us as we receive Him in Holy Communion and the life that He shares through us as we love one another as He loves us.

I share the prayer I prayed last Sunday from evening prayer in the Breviary.

To Christ the Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, let us pray with joyful hearts:

Come, Lord Jesus!

Lord Jesus, in the mystery of your incarnation you
revealed your glory to the world,
- give us new life by your coming.
You have taken our weakness upon yourself,
- grant us your mercy.
You redeemed the world from sin by your first coming
in humility,
- free us from all guilt when you come again in glory.
You live and rule over all,
- in your goodness bring us to our eternal inheritance.
You sit at the right hand of the Father,
- gladden the souls of the dead with your light.

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed by thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Father in heaven, the day draws near when the glory of your Son will make radiant the night of the waiting world. May the lure of greed not impede us from the joy that which moves the hearts of those who seek Him. May the darkness not blind us to the vision of wisdom which fills the minds of those who find Him. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.