There is a saying: “You can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink.” So too in God’s incredible mercy toward us, the human race, God sets salvation history forward with prophesies of hope as proclaimed this weekend by the secretary to the prophet Jeremiah, the prophet Baruch: “For God has commanded that every lofty mountain and the age-old hills be made low, That the valleys be filled to make level ground, that Israel may advance securely in the glory of God” Baruch 5:7. God will make a way for His people to return to worship Him in the holy city. So too did God speak to the heart of John the son of Zechariah. God called him to be a prophet and the message he was to speak would prepare people of his time to fill the valleys of despair in their lives and knock down the obstacles which like mountains prevented them from moving forward in their lives. John’s urgings would lead them to be baptized, a symbol of repentance of their sins and in preparation to recognize and follow the Christ, the Anointed of God who was to come. John was a pivotal character in God’s will that “all be saved and come to the knowledge of truth” 1Timothy 2:4. However, people had to respond, confess, receive God’s mercy, and thus be prepared well for their redemption. Our Holy Father Francis is calling us to celebrate a “Year of Mercy.” This year especially our own diocese is making the Sacrament of Penance & Reconciliation plentifully available at most churches in the Diocese every Wednesday from 5-7PM. The opportunities are plentiful but our own will has to be engaged to respond to God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace to welcome Jesus within our heart.
WE’LL LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON FOR YOU…. In most of all Catholic Churches throughout the Diocese of Buffalo, confessions will be available every Wednesday during our Advent Season from December 2nd to the 23rd from 5:00PM to 7:00PM. At each of our three churches: St. Martin de Porres, St. Lawrence, and Nativity we’ll be leaving the “Lights on for YOU!” Come and prepare your heart to celebrate the birth of our Savior worthily and well.
AN ADVENT RETREAT, celebrating the Year of Mercy, declared by Pope Francis, “Jesus, heal us body, mind and spirit” will be held at St. Lawrence Parish, 1520 E. Delavan Ave. The retreat begins Sunday December 13 at 6:30 PM with a discussion of God’s Mercy and Compassion, ANOINTING OF THE SICK with guest Fr. David Bellittiere who is well-known for his healing ministry to those experiencing serious illness, cancer in particular, and for his devotion to St. Peregrine. Fr. Ron Sajdak is expected to join Fr. David to facilitate Anointing of those attending. Monday December 14 with reflections on how we have responded in Mercy and Compassion with RECONCILIATION AND PRIVATE CONFESSIONS. Our final evening is Tuesday December 15 with reflections on our response to God’s Mercy and Compassion and ends with HOLY EUCHARIST Principal celebrant, Fr. Daniel Ogbeifun."