8:00am, 5:00pm (vigil)
7:00am, 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:45am, 12:15pm
8:00 am, 7:00 pm;
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament 12 noon-7:00 p.m. (except summer)
It happens every year.
Loyal churchgoers arrive on Christmas Eve to find (gasp!) strangers sitting in “their” seats. They try to find another comfortable spot, but pews and chairs are blanketed in coats and purses waiting for people who’ll likely arrive no sooner than the processional hymn. The nerve.
For a welcoming community like Christ the King, we turn our frustration into something beautiful for a God who found himself without a room at the inn. If someone doesn’t look, think, act or smell like you, be welcoming. Give up your seat and smile, and just introduce people to the hope of Christ through your actions.
Christmas and Easter are like Super Bowl. It may be our one time all year that someone comes in and hears a message of hope in a world that’s hurting or hopeless. Always remember the reason why we are here in Church in the first place. This is an opportunity to touch somebody that has thought about going to church for months but they haven’t. And, we know, we don’t get a lot of opportunities with those folks. This is a great opportunity for evangelization. A welcoming place, a warm ambience without the chaos and frustrations of the Christmas Eve mass that we are normally used to, might bring those folks back to us. The important thing is helping people to see and to embrace Jesus. So what we do?
I would ask you to consider gifting your seat in church to someone on Christmas Eve (3.30 and 5.30 pm masses), to allow someone that you don’t know to experience the warmth and love of Jesus who gave up everything to become one of us. “Though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality
with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming inhuman likeness and found human appearance.” (Phil 2: 7) And we who come to Church every Sunday shall opt to go to the Gym for a mass that begins 15 minutes later (3.45 and 5.45 pm Masses), and experience Christmas in the spirit of Jesus’ own birth – in the simplicity of a Gym. This would reduce the traffic flow before and after mass, and would allow some of us to come early to welcome everyone to Church and then move on to the GYM. Our musicians would start Christmas carols 20 to 30 minutes before, so that as people are ushered into Church or Gym, they can experience the peace and joy of meeting Jesus in the liturgy. We will be having a 3.30 pm Mass in the Church and 3.45 pm Mass in the Gym. Similarly, a 5.30 pm Mass in the Church and 5.45 pm Mass in the Gym. If it is hard for you to be in the GYM, just go to Church and I would like you to have a beautiful Christmas too. If you have children or guests who are visiting from afar, Church may be your choice. When you gift your space to someone, it is Christmas for you. “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.” (Mother Teresa)
Our Advent Reconciliation service is on December 16 at 7.30 pm. It is a wonderful opportunity to join our sisters and brother in asking for forgiveness and healing during this important time of the year. Our Filipino brothers and sisters celebrate Simbagabi Mass at 6.30 pm. You are welcome to join then and then, stay on for the Penance Service. We will have a number of priests on Saturday, 20th at 3.30 pm to hear confessions in the Church.
Let us continue celebrating advent. I would like to thank all of you who are engaged in the Christmas celebration at Christ the King. Whether you are a sacristan, or a Church environment committee member or a volunteer, your ministry is integral to the celebration. I am grateful.