This year the season of Advent and Christmas is going to be very different from that of the previous years for our parishioners of St. Joseph, Sentul. These past three months we have been working hard as one parish community to raise RM150,000 for our “Christmas Get Together 2016” to be held on 18 December. We started with a very good spirit – a spirit of philanthropy and a spirit of reaching out to the poor without looking at any race, religion and nationality. There were a number of hiccups along the way in our early planning stages but now we the Committee, have full confidence that we will be able to successfully organize this event because of your great support and prayers.
There is only a couple of weeks before we celebrate the great event by uniting ourselves with the spirit of the joy of Christmas with an estimate crowd of 2500 – 3000 including the poor children and their families. Many exciting events are planned for this Christmas Get Together such as the distribution of school uniforms for 320 poor students, provision of groceries for 250 low-income families, lunch for all attending the event on that day, raffle draws with more than 200 prizes for the lucky ones, entertainment and thrilling games.
We are in the season of Advent now. I believe you have promised yourselves that this Advent would be different. You may have great intentions to make this Advent season and Christmas celebration very different from the last. We as parishioners must start making it happen now by slowly cutting down on all our busy schedules and embracing the spirit of Advent and more importantly remember its purpose and meaning in preparing for the coming of Christ.
The season invites us to prepare room in our hearts for Christ and not just to sit back and do nothing. Jesus has a time and place for everything and He invites us to prepare for His Coming on Christmas especially in our families, our workplace, our schools and our community. During this season let us stay close to Christ in prayer and deeds and when we do these He takes over our lives little by little. Our selfishness fades. Our hearts grow. We die to ourselves. “He must increase; I must decrease”, (John 3:30).
A lot of efforts have been taken to prepare for the Christmas Get Together. As parishioners and as Catholics, let’s make known our identity by uniting ourselves to entertain our distinguished guests, the poor and needy and also one another who will be coming for this event. By welcoming these friends of ours we shall be able to experience the fruits of the groundwork laid for this Advent to invite Christ Jesus to dwell within our hearts and our parish community.
Our heart is where Christ wishes to dwell and this season is the perfect time to make room for His presence in our hearts. We will have our Advent Penitential service in our parish on 2 December. If our heart is not ready for forgiveness then there is no room for Christ. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an important part of preparing your heart for Jesus.
Fr. George Packiasamy