12 Nov 2021

This Week Letter – November 14, 2021

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Where Did Fall Go?


Just where the heck did fall go? I don’t know about you, but it seems like the fall just blew by and I can’t believe we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was the craziness of getting adjusted to a new parish. Maybe it was that it didn’t really get very cold this fall. Maybe it’s still the weirdness of Covid-world, but it just felt like September, October and even part of November just flew by. Now, all of a sudden, I’m breaking out the sweaters and realizing that I need to put my kayak up for the winter. I can’t believe that Advent is already almost upon us. They say that, the older we get, the faster time flies. I’m admittedly not that old (contrary to the beliefs of the kids in the school!), but I think I’ve started to notice that phenomenon as well. But it really did hit me these past couple of months.


But the reality is that we are getting ready for winter. I have to start thinking about my Advent homilies and bulletin articles. Life gets busy as we approach Thanksgiving  and Christmas. I  also have to do Christmas shopping, as well as find birthday gifts for my little niece (which is admittedly one of the few parts of shopping that I actually enjoy).  But, as the days until Christmas grow shorter, and the amount of daylight we see shrinks, we are reminded that our time here is limited. Now, that can admittedly be a hard thing for us to contemplate. Sometimes it can be rather sad. At the same time, however, for those who know the presence of Jesus Christ in their lives, it can be a time of great hope as well. Yes, our time on this Earth is short. Indeed, our world is, on the whole, good. Our loving God made our world, and God does  not make junk.


At the same time, however, we are reminded in our readings today that the end of the world, and the end of our lives in this world, are not entirely negative things. Yes, it does hurt to think about separation from our loved ones. It can seem harsh for the control freaks among us to know that the Earth will continue to turn after we are gone. It can be scary for any of us to step out into the unknown. At the same time, we are reminded today that, if we allow God to be at work in our lives, he can bring us to a new world. Yes, God will bring your earthly life and mine to an end. But that is not the end of our lives. Rather,  we believe in a God who loves us so much that he would transform our lives so that we can have the life that he always meant for us to have. That life is the life that goes beyond the feeble limits of the world around us.


Yes, we experience darkness now, in our days and in our readings. But we know that God brings light out of darkness. We do fear the unknown, but if we are able to trust in God, we know that the unknown needn’t be feared but embraced.  This past September, I was able to go backpacking with some friends in Yosemite National Park. It was wonderful, the park is sublime and I love backpacking. In Yosemite, we were  able to see the giant sequoia trees, some of the largest living things on Earth. We hiked to Grizzly Giant, one of the largest sequoias there. Grizzly Giant is estimated to be 2,995 years old. It dates back almost as far as David and Solomon in the Old Testament. I’m still just in utter awe of this tree. Yet, even more remarkable than that, is how sequoias begin their life. Their pinecones can only be opened in a fire. It’s only when the forests burn down that new sequoias can grow. It is a reminder to me that God constantly brings life, even out of death. It reminds me how small I am, and how large God’s love really is.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Brendan