By Marilena Berardinelli
I recently visited a JK/SK classroom in the context of our parish’s mission of evangelization in the spirit of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. To begin our “wondering” together about the seasons of the church, I asked the children what I thought was a simple question: “What is a calendar?”
Firstly, who knew that these paper organizers strung on walls and littered on desks are relics of things past. Since none of the 4, 5 or 6 year olds were familiar with Google Calendar or iCal only a handful of the 140 JK/SK students could share that: calendars told us the days of the weeks, the days we go to soccer or to ballet class, when vacations start or how many “sleeps” until their birthday. One student figuring I was the “religion lady” (as he endearingly refers to me) chimed in about his special Christmas calendar that gave him chocolate one year or toys another year. So, after much debate on whether all calendars provide “surprises” the children finally (phew!) concluded that calendars mark time.
Last Sunday the church began to mark time, not with bright lights, tinsel or chocolate(!), but with a simple wreath and the lighting of the first of four candles that mark our journey together toward the celebration of Christmas; when we remember that Jesus was born and that one day He will come again. With the JK/SK students, as well as the children who attend the Atrium, the Advent wreath is a visual reminder on what we are called to focus our attention during this time of preparation. This Advent symbol that marks time for us, helps us fix our gaze on the journey we have embarked on rather than the destination before us- on the present rather than on the celebrations, the culinary feasts, and the gift exchanges ahead.
Today’s Gospel readings reminds us that this four-week journey is meant to be a time to “Prepare a way for the Lord.” With this in mind, let us mark our calendars (paper or otherwise). If we haven’t already done so, let us commit to preparing the way, to repenting and acknowledging our failings, to committing to bearing good fruits. Let us mark this time with concrete actions that prepare our very souls for the celebration ahead.
May these remaining weeks of Advent be a time marked by interior preparations to receive and celebrate the gift of the Word made flesh.
What have you Done?
By Adam Lalonde, SJ
Sometimes we are so clueless about what’s in front of us that we are unable to ask the right questions. In today’s gospel reading the Sadducees make a second attempt to humiliate Jesus during his public preaching. The Sadducees were a group of Jewish religious leaders based in the Temple who adhered strictly to the Mosaic Law. In their interpretation there was no room for belief in the resurrection of the dead.
Jesus quickly turns the tables on the representative of the Sadducees who thought he could cleverly fool him. Jesus’ response is simple: you are missing the point. The resurrection of the dead is more than about returning to life. In the resurrection all creation will find its fullness in God. The concerns of this life will no longer trouble us.
We can sometimes forget the right questions too. In the spiritual life Jesus pierces our questions to show the anxiety within us that lies beyond the question. His answer remains the same: “Remember where you came from and where you are going. Remember the life to come.” Our questions then become simple: What have I done for you, Lord? What am I doing? What ought I to do?
2 Maccabees 7.1-2, 7, 9-14
2 Thessalonians 2.16 – 3.5
By Michael Pirri
In Jesus’ day, the tax system was easily corrupted. Tax collectors were effectively able to mark-up their taxes and take the difference for themselves. The more prominent the tax collector, the more tax they could add to tax collected by those below them; Zacchaeus was the chief tax collector – a very prominent man. It looks like wealth inequality is not something new to the 21st century!
When we talk about the widening wealth gap today, we think of the top 0.01% of earners, people who are worth billions of dollars. How can such inequality exist in the world? Why aren’t these people paying their fair share?
Zacchaeus wasn’t paying his fair share either. He was actually taking advantage of those less fortunate than himself.
As painful as it is sometimes to see that HST line at the bottom of your receipts, it helps it some way knowing that at least it helps to pay for things. It funds our hospitals and schools, pays for road repairs and subsidies to public transit, provides grants to non-profits that feed the poor.
What is disheartening though is that it is not enough. When will we, like Zacchaeus, climb the tree in our garden and look into the face of Jesus?
As I write this, the #unignorabletower is trending on social media. A building, dubbed the #unignorable tower, would need to have space for 116,317 individuals and families, proving the point of how massive our poverty and homelessness problem is. Standing at over 2.5 times the height of the CN Tower, The #UNIGNORABLE Tower was imagined by the United Way to represent the scale of the problem, and bring attention to this big and complicated issue.
Wisdom 11.22 – 12.2
2 Thessalonians 1.11 – 2.2
On November 9 and 10, we are holding our annual Christmas Drive to help fundraise for our Christmas meals and gift bags. Your $15 of support go a long way towards providing items to those in our community who need the most help.