Dear Parishioners of St. James:
Praised be Jesus Christ!
St. John the Baptist called people to publicly repent of their sins. His baptism of water was not the Sacrament of Baptism but, rather, a public recognition of one’s sins before others. Many humble people responded to him and repented. John chastised the Pharisees and Sadducees (the religious leaders of the time) for coming to his baptism with unrepentant hearts. God will not be mocked. Performing religious ceremonies without one’s heart in it offends God grievously.
As holy Mass begins, we all make a public confession of our sins. Each of us admits that we have sinned and asks the saints, angels, and other believers here on earth to pray for us. If our hearts are in this prayer, then we can humbly enter into divine worship. If we just say the words without true sorrow for our sins and a firm resolve to amend our lives, then we are not prepared to offer the sacrifice that saves us from “the coming wrath.” (Mt. 3:7)
Please use the remaining time of Advent to sincerely repent of your sins and to seek God’s help, especially in the Sacrament of Penance. As we grow in the spirit of repentance, we will make a better offering of ourselves with Jesus to the Father. If we bring fruits of repentance, then Jesus will fill us with the Holy Spirit and fire, an offering pleasing to God the Father.
God bless you,