Bulletin (December 5, 2004)

This week I have been signing and sending out thank-you letters regarding Stewardship of Time, Talent and Treasure. The generosity of Holy Family parishioners continues to encourage and inspire me. I deeply appreciate your support for our mission as a parish. If you turned in a Stewardship card and do not receive an acknowledgement in a timely fashion (say within two or three weeks), please let us know. Also, if any of the figures are not accurate, give us a call or send a note. We sometimes make mistakes, and we are eager to correct them.

Also, I want to thank all the people who have made donations of toys and food items. We will distribute the food items on the Saturday after next. Many people from our area look to Holy Family Parish for help during this season. There is still time to bring in a gift for a child. Simply pick up a tag from the Giving Tree or from the box in the vestibule. Scrip also makes a great gift for the needy ¡V and for family members.

A number of people have asked about the progress of the church roof. I am happy to say that we are pretty much on schedule. When we began this repair a couple of months ago, we knew that it would be a delicate process because it involves the removal of tiles in order to do the necessary repairs underneath. I greatly admire the dedication of the workers who carry on despite the cold and sometimes drizzly weather. Offer a little prayer for them and for their safety as they carry out this project.

Next Sunday is December 12, which is also the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Because it falls on Sunday, the readings and prayers will be taken from the Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday). The commemoration of our Lady will consist in a special prayer in the Prayers of the Faithful, a hymn to Mary and some mention during the homily. The 12:30 p.m. Spanish Mass will focus more closely on Our Lady of Guadalupe. I invite all parishioners to participate in this Mass with its procession and reception afterwards. Because of our diverse community here at Holy Family, we have wonderful opportunities to experience the blessings of faith as it is lived in a variety of cultures and languages.

In today¡¦s Mass we hear these wonderful words from the prophet Isaiah:

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together. (Is. 11:6)

The American painter, Edward Hicks, did a famous series of paintings based on that text, such as the one above. I also enjoyed this cartoon, which gives a humorous twist:

The humor of the cartoon derives from the fact that in the natural order it is highly unlikely that a lion and a lamb could lie down together in a peaceful manner. The prophet Jeremiah has a verse that refers to the ferocious nature of the beasts: ¡§Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, and a wolf from the desert shall destroy them. A leopard is watching against their cities, every one who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great.¡¨ (5:6)

In the opening Canto of The Divine Comedy, Dante encounters the three ferocious animals: the leopard, the lion and the wolf. They symbolize the major categories of sin: incontinence, violence and fraud. Or as they are more commonly called ¡V lust, pride and avarice. In her commentary, Dorothy Sayers explains that these categories of sin were associated with the three stages of life ¡V lust with youth, pride (self-conceit) with the middle years and avarice with old age. Of course, they can attack a person at any time of his life.

Sin knows how to sell itself. It arrives beautifully packaged and seems irresistible. Everywhere we look, lust, violence, and greed dominate our world. To become a cynic requires no effort. However, as we see in today¡¦s Gospel, John the Baptist did not fall into that trap. For sure, he denounced sin, but more importantly, he proclaimed a solid hope. The dominion of sin, he says, is coming to an end. The kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus, who Scripture calls both the Lion and the Lamb, is the kingdom. In these remaining weeks of Advent, we ask God to prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus and the kingdom which he realizes.


NEW YEAR¡¦S RESOLUTION for LIFE
A Symposium on Life Issues

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2005
                      9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
St. Monica¡¦s Family Center, Mercer Island
Sponsored by:
St. Monica¡¦s Respect Life Committee and
Father John Walsh, Council Knights of Columbus
With
Camille De Blasi, Dr. Sharon Quick, Eileen Geller-Brown, Catholic Community Services, Birthright, Project Rachel, Pro-Life Washington, and more

ƒÍƒnFor Catholics looking for ways to put
CONVICTIONS into ACTIONƒÍ

Be Informed ¡V Be Encouraged ¡V Be Energized

Topics include:

Universal law ¡V Church teachings on life ¡V Canon Law
Stem-cell research & cloning ¡V Post-abortion trauma & healing ¡V REAL dignity at the end of life ¡V Natural Family Planning ¡V Pro-life action ¡V Forming a Respect Life chapter at your parish ¡V How to help in crisis pregnancies
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Please detach and return with your check by Dec. 28, 2004 Thanks!

LIFE ISSUES SYMPOSIUM
St. Monica¡¦s Catholic Church, Mercer Island
Jan. 8, 2005,  9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

REGISTRATION FORM

Name ________________________________________________
Admission(s) @ $25.00 each _______
Address_______________________________________________
Box lunch (es) @ $8.00 each _______
Total ________________
Phone ____________________________
e-mail ____________________________

Priests and religious admitted free

Please make checks payable to:  ¡§KNIGHTS of COLUMBUS¡¨ and mail to:  Jan Valley
             c/o 2920 130th Ave. NE
             Bellevue, WA  98005

Questions?  Call Mike Stergios @ 206-356-2098

Also:  Save the Date
Father Bloom and St. Martha's Sodality 
are hosting the Second Annual Parish Breakfast on
December 19, 2004.  Breakfast will be served starting at 
8:00 a.m. and continue until 2:00 p.m.
The cost is free, but a donation of a non-perishable food item
for the St. Vincent de Paul Society would be greatly appreciated.
Even if you attend a vigil mass, please join us for breakfast.
The monies received from the donut sales will pay for the breakfast.