Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
“...a Coming to...”

That’s what Advent – ad venio - means, ‘coming to.’ Fooling around with the idea I real¬ized it could have a lot of meanings; for example, coming to consciousness after being in a coma, or coming to a new conclusion about something, or coming to the door of someone you visit. (I guess there wouldn’t be much visiting going on right now.)

It could also mean that someone was coming to visit me. With Christmas on the horizon, the season of Advent certainly is inviting us to raise our expectations of the coming of Jesus.

We know full well that it isn’t simply about a babe in a manger. It’s also about the coming of Jesus each day in our lives, a rebirth of love, accepted by our attitudes of faith.

We pray that our coming year will see the end of COVID-19 and a vaccine that will accomplish that goal. Praise God for the amazing people who are able to answer that need.

We pray for the stamina in each of us to not only deal with our own fears and depressions, but even more importantly to ‘come to’ seeing that those very goals might be met when we can walk with someone through the same kind of challeng¬es we ourselves are feeling and experiencing.

Now, an extremely unAdventful Gear Change

Recently someone asked a question which made me wonder if anyone else had the same question, namely, “Why do we have three Mass intentions instead of one?”

The rule about one intention per Mass is to make sure that making offerings or stipends would never become an abuse. Offerings or stipends are a means of supporting the clergy and the church.

Stipends are helpful for missionaries in poor parts of the world which is why those of you who support the missions are asked for Mass intentions. The missionary priests celebrate those Masses, and you support their work. The unfortunate result can be that it seems like we’re “selling” Masses. Occasionally, when someone comes to request a Mass intention, they will ask, “How much does the Mass cost?”

Since I’ve come to St. Sebastian, and since I’m alone and my decision wouldn’t affect anyone else, I’ve asked that no monetary offerings for celebrating the Sacraments be requested or suggested. If someone wants to make an offering, put it in the poor box. But making an offering is not necessary to schedule a Mass. (If you’re having a $$$$$$$$$ wedding, it would be nice if you kicked in for the AC in the Church.)

These days in the United States, we clergy receive a salary and your Stewardship commitment takes care of the electric bills.

As you know, the merits of the Mass are infinite, and the blessings of any Mass are infinite. Whether we have one or five or five hundred intentions, it’s not as though you get a whole Mass, or a fifth of a Mass or a 500th of a Mass. You cannot divide up the infinitely valuable.

I limit us to three intentions just so that someone will be noticed and prayed for by all of us in this special way. That’s why we announce the Mass intentions. Don’t get trapped into thinking that the offering you make adds to the value of the Mass. If you did, that might demonstrate more clearly than anything how our values sometimes get confused.

I hope I haven’t just made stipend offerings more confusing. Instead, maybe next week I will try explaining the intricacies of COVID–19 research ...or simply ask Lord Jesus to come to us again and always.

In Him,

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