By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
“The Light Is On…”
One of the interesting nights in the diocese occurs in Advent when every parish imitates the Prodigal Father, who is looking out the window and up the road to be able to spy his long lost child on the way home so that he will be able to greet him before the child gets nervous and passes the old homestead in shame.
There is always a lot of hustle and bustle around the holidays. Decorations have to be put up. Delicious food has to be prepared. Whenever these events are being given first billing, there are always conflicts and misunderstandings. That is human nature; but it is the nature of our Christian Community to put feelings aside and get on with the business at hand, namely to forgive and to share.
The father didn’t do much talking, but he listened and came up with an answer perfect enough to get a listing in the Gospel!
Previous to that night of reconciliation, I had heard Advent confessions at a number of parishes, but I might have been too talkative.
For the Light Is On event, God put me in a perfect place by giving me an allergy which took my voice away. Consequently, I had to listen and listen and listen. And one penitent just needed that very prescription. His story was long and his journey had been a maze of ins and outs, but he had the full attention of my ear and he used it to good effect. When at length he finished, we prayed. There was a palpable peace in the room.
Advent is a good time to have this welcoming home service. Outside means to be in the cold darkness. Inside means we belong to a family.
As Robert Frost stated so well in his poem, “The Death of the Hired Hand,” “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.