Amid our shopping for gifts for friends and family and immersed in a seemingly endless sea of Christmas parties, we can sometimes lose sight of the penitential nature of Advent. So we would do well to remember that the Church clothes herself in the same color during both Advent and Lent, the other penitential season of the Church year.

If we have tended in past years to downplay the reflective and sacrificial nature of the season that leads to Christmas, the scandal-ridden times we currently find ourselves in should hasten and sharply focus our efforts to prepare our souls to receive the Christ Child into our hearts.

The first-century Jews longed for leaders who would prepare them for the Messiah. Two millennia later, we Catholics long for leaders who will stand for what the Church has taught since its founding, leaders who will protect their spiritual children and fight for them, who are the Church, not the institutional trappings.

This Advent, let us pray for the fortitude of our shepherds and pray that we may all “rend our hearts, not our garments,” as we prepare ourselves well for the coming of the Savior of the world.

God bless you!