This weekend we celebrate the SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT. As you know over the past month I have been pointing out to everyone the movement away from the religious to the secular. When Israel became a country in 1947 it had to make a decision as to whether it wanted to become a religious or secular state. After careful and prolonged debate it chose to become a secular state. Certainly this did not sit well with the orthodox population, and the struggle to move to a religious state has brought forth tensions within the population. Here in the United States we chose to incorporate our Christian Faith into the foundation of who we are and how we operate. We have mixed up the notion of boundaries between church and state with the founding values of religious freedom. As a nation we are called to value and respect each of our faith traditions. We remain ‘one nation under God’ and I believe 99% of the residents of this country agree with this belief, but we are often dealing with someone who is suing the government as they feel their rights are abridged by any mention of God. These folks seem like the obvious threat to continuing to having God as the foundation of our country, but the truth is it is common Joe who threatens this beautiful relationship with our Divine God.

It mainly happens through neglect of our beliefs and the principles they promote to maintain Christian values.

Our country would benefit greatly with our individual dedication to living a life that values the role of religion in our society and the various churches, synagogues and mosques in our communities. We need to promote our belief in Jesus with others, invite neighbors to our parish church, promise our prayers to those who are facing some problem or who have experienced some loss, and liberally use the name of God to bless people. At our baptism, we were also anointed priest, prophet and king; it is in the role of priest, that is sharing in the royal priesthood of Christ, that we are called to bless others. Yes, the blessing from the Church is restricted to the ordained priest, but a parent’s blessing of a child, your blessing of someone, also brings with it God’s grace and bounty. Promote the faith with saying ‘God Bless you’ to someone who has sneezed, or to someone who has done something good or accomplished something great. Use the name of God and use it often.

Having said all of the above, I’d like to also point out the ways you Glorify God. I am thinking about your support of the Marshfield Food Pantry. We remain one of the largest single source givers to the pantry….they are always amazed at the generosity of your hearts. I hope you realize that to those who work at the pantry you provide a great example of what the Catholic Faith is all about. I know this past Thanksgiving many of you contributed Turkeys and other food products for the mothers and families from Julie’s Learning Center. In last week’s gospel we were reminded in the parable that “what you do for the least of your neighbors, you do for me.” We are reminded that God has reserved a place at the heavenly banquet for those who take care of their neighbor, while also being cautioned that for those who take care of themselves to the exclusion of others will be sent wailing and grinding their teeth into eternal banishment. This is as good time as any to point out that we are sending Hams, vegetables and fruit for a Christmas day celebration for the mothers and families in Julie’s Learning Center. Can you donate a ham this year? Also a reminder that we are collecting presents for the Jesse Tree. Because of your Christian values and promotion of the Gospel many more families will have a Merry Christmas. Lastly, I hope we will all pray for our elders, our Jewish brothers and sisters, the source of many of Judeo Christian traditions, for the State of Israel, that they may enjoy peace and prosperity in 2018.