Home Page Home Page Events Events Photos Photos Diocese of Ogdensburg Home Page  
Follow Us on Facebook


Father Muench Says...

The patron saint of Advent

December 1, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Advent – the beginning of a new Church year. This is often a bit confusing to some. For us Catholics, the new year begins with the First Sunday of Advent. We are talking here about the Church’s liturgical year. Each year, we carefully follow the life of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as set out in the Gospel stories. For us, this all begins with the years that lead up to the Birth of Jesus that we celebrate at Christmas. We call this Advent.

For me personally, the First Sunday of Advent is a reminder of all the things that I enjoy doing leading up Christmas. There are the Christmas presents, the Christmas cards, the Christmas decorations and the Christmas donations that I like to make. I really do enjoy doing each of these things.

However, as you are aware, our Catholic Church becomes counter cultural during Advent – as it relates to our Masses and services. At Church, we put aside all the usual Christmas things – all those things that I do enjoy doing – and we celebrate Advent. We get very spiritual with our prayers and our Masses in order to prepare our hearts and minds spiritually for Christmas, when we will celebrate the Birth of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Advent means drawing closer to our Lord and putting our spiritual life in order so that we can again unite our lives with the Lord and allow Jesus to walk with us and guide us.

The patron saint for Advent is St. John the Baptist. John the Baptist dedicated his whole life to prepare the world for the coming of Jesus, not so much for the birth of the Lord but rather for when Jesus began his public ministry among the people of country. So, Advent is a perfect time to prepare ourselves each year for the whole experience that Jesus brough to our world and to ourselves.

I believe that John the Baptist in his time was most attractive prophet. Many people found him and his message unique and exciting. The Jewish people knew well the story of the coming of a Messiah. John told them that this was the time. Many of the people were certain that he was the long-awaited Messiah.

You know the story but let me take a moment to remind you. John, as a youth, was a desert person. He dressed like a desert person. St. Matthew’s Gospel tells us that John the Baptist wore clothing made of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. His message was simple, yet rather powerful. His vocation was to prepare the way of the Lord and make straight his path. Now is the time to Repent.

John the Baptist’s message touched the hearts of those who listened to his message. However, John made it very clear that he was not the Messiah. He preached, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

John preached a baptism of repentance. When they came to John seeking his forgiveness and expressing their repentance as he was teaching along the River Jordan, John challenged them to change and live good lives – make their world a better place, find a new and holier life. To remind them of their repentance and commitment, John invited them to join him in the river and he baptized them by plunging them into the water. It was truly a perfect reminder. They would always remember this commitment to a change of life. They would always remember that they met Jesus and promised him. It was the day that they were baptized in the water of the River Jordan by St. John the Baptist – a day that he plunged them into the river’s waters.

I have a special devotion to St. John the Baptist. I pray to him often that I may have the same power to lead others by my preaching to find a new and holier life to find Jesus and allow Jesus to lead them to peace and happiness. I pray that I can have the power of John the Baptist, who said of Jesus, “he must increase, I must decrease.”

North Country Catholic North Country Catholic is
honored by Catholic Press
Association of US & Canada

Copyright © Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg. All rights reserved.