BRIDGEPORT—“On this the last Sunday of Advent, Our Lady figures prominently as we stand on the threshold of Christmas,” said Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in his weekly online Mass from the Catholic Center.
“It’s her fiat, her “Yes” that begins this offer, this drama, this sacred message of salvation in the son she bore into the world,” he said in his homily at Mass for the 4th Sunday of Advent.
The Bishop said the Blessed mother’s obedience and willingness to do the will of God is an example of how to avoid the destructive entanglement of sin “that prevents us from doing what He asks us and mires us in paths that are destructive and worse.”
After reading Luke’s account of the Annunciation ( 1:26-38) when Mary is visited by the Angel Gabriel (“Behold, you will bear a son and you shall name him Jesus”), the bishop said the Blessed Mother gave us a new beginning and a path to salvation.
The bishop began his homily by noting that as a young boy he often struggled to untie the knots in his shoes– an effort that usually required his mother’s help in order to get him out of the house and off to school on time.
“I did know how to tie my shoes, but I usually couldn’t find where the knot was. To this day, I’m not sure why it was such a problem,” he said recalling his mother’s help and patience.
“Now I stand nearly 62 years of age at a time in my life that I still have a problem with knots–and perhaps you do too. Not knots made with shoe laces, but the knots you and I create by your sins and mine– knots that create entanglements that prevent us from being where we were meant to be in Christ.”
The bishop said that as we prepare for Christmas the example of the Blessed Mother can help us untie the knots that make us unhappy and separate us from God.
“The Blessed Mother is considered the new Eve, the un-tier of knots that our first earthy parents created, which entangled all of our lives,” he said.
He said that the word “obedience” describes the Blessed Mother’s reaction to God’s call, but it is also a word that has fallen out of favor in contemporary society.
Today, obedience has become a negative word for people who think “My life is all about me and what I want, and my desires,” he said.
He said Mary was a woman who had planned to consecrate her life but had no hesitation when she was called to a radically different task by God– one that could have led to her being shunned and ostracized as an unwed, pregnant woman.
However, she responded without hesitation because she knew how “to listen with open heart to God’s will and to do it.”
The Blessed Mother lived “her life in the holiness of grace, even when it took her to a place that was unforeseen, a place that was uncomfortable and a place that was unacceptable,” he said.
Likewise, we must learn to listen to God and not get entangled in our own plans and wants.
“We’re not ourselves when we do it our way—not God’s way; when we seek pleasure instead of purpose, when we’re self-promoting rather than neighbor promoting… when we live life in a way we choose and not the way the Virgin Mary’s son has taught us.”
“My earthly mother helped me untie my earthly shoes, and my Heavenly Mother helps us from falling into the sins that can entangle us,” he said. “She reminds us as a good mother, that if want to talk through life, get on with the journey and not fall on our face, we have to avoid knots and move on.”
The bishop concluded his homily by saying that he continues to wear a scapula that his mother gave him years ago, and sometimes in the morning it gets tangled with chain that holds the Cross he wears as a bishop.
He said that when he stands before the bathroom mirror trying to untangle them, he sometimes finds himself chuckling when he understands that both his “earthly mother and spiritual mother are teaching me the basic lesson of life– that it’s far easier to live without knots.”
At the end of Mass, the Bishop invited all those who will be unable to attend Christmas Mass in person to join him in the online Mass on Christmas day. “I look forward to praying with you through this electronic format for this most wonderful and joyful day of the coming into the world of the Savior and Redeemer,” he said.
The Bishop’s Sunday Mass is released online every Sunday morning at 8 a.m. and available for replay throughout the day. To view the Bishop’s Sunday Mass, recorded and published weekly, click this link or visit the YouTube Mass Playlist.
For information on the Sunday Family Rosary every Sunday at 7:30 p.m. visit: https://formationreimagined.org/sundayfamilyrosary/