Today’s feast is the oldest celebration of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic Church. Today we conclude the octave of Christmas by celebrating the woman who kept the Christmas story in her heart. While the new beginning celebrated by New Year’s Day may take precedence in the mind of most people, today’s feast is wrapped up in the Roman concept of an octave, that is, the eighth day, which is a symbol of fulfillment or completion. January 1 rounds out the celebration of Christmas with its emphasis on the divine becoming human. The Word of God could only take on our human nature through the cooperation of the Virgin Mother. Her yes made the birth of Christ a reality. As Mother of God and role model in the faith, Mary is a constant reminder to us all of the importance of saying yes to God, of allowing God’s will be done in our lives. Mary teaches us all that with God, “nothing will be impossible.”
Friday, December 23, 2011
Today we celebrate the greatest Christmas gift of all - Jesus. God so loved us; he gave us his only Son. We gather as families and parish to celebrate God becoming one of us through Jesus. Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes came into this world to set us free from sin and death. He rules the spirits of believers all over the world. He brings peace to those whose hearts are heavy. He brings hope to those who live in darkness, whose good deeds go unnoticed and whose love goes without reward. As we exchange and open gifts this Christmas, remember the greatest gift that God gave us - His very self.
Fr. Russell and I wish you and your families a blessed Christmas. Together with all our parish staff and employees, we pray in eager anticipation of God’s gifts in the new year to come.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Next weekend we celebrate Christmas, the festival of our Savior’s birth. Today’s readings prepare us for the coming of Christ, as one born in time, a man like us in all things but sin. Today we hear the story of the annunciation - the angel Gabriel announces to Mary that God wants her to be a special mother. We look to Mary as our example. As Mary said Yes to God, we pray for the grace to say yes to Christ at every moment of our lives.
As we come to the end of this Advent season, let us take some time in prayer to open ourselves to the will of God. Prayer is a wonderful tool of our faith. Prayer can transform our lives. Jesus doesn’t want us to pray because we have to. He wants us to pray because he loves us and likes talking to us. With prayer we can truly say yes to God.
Today we welcome Fr. Sam Esposito, our Vicar, who will celebrate the 11:00 AM Mass.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Gaudete! Rejoice! This is Gaudete Sunday and gaudete means rejoice. We celebrate joyfully today as we are that much closer to the coming Christ. Ironically, with the long Advent season, Christmas is literally still two weeks away. Yet we have much to be joyful for. We hear “Rejoice” in the first and second readings. In the Gospel, John the Baptist’s voice resounds with a call for holiness and justice so Jesus, our joy, might find a worthy welcome within us. John is also pointing to Jesus the light, the one who comes to enlighten all and to shine the brightness of judgment on the works of darkness. To endure this light, we must make straight the way of the Lord in our own lives.
Next Sunday, we will welcome Fr. Sam Esposito, our Vicar, who will celebrate the 11:00 AM Mass.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
On this Second Sunday of Advent, our Gospel today takes us down to the banks of the Jordan River; it is here where we encounter John, the “herald in the desert.” God sent John the Baptist to announce the coming of Jesus. In the same way, God calls each of us to fulfill some mission in our life.
Advent is a time for renewal, rebirth and conversion. We are waiting for Emmanuel, thus we must be active in our faith. Every moment of our lives can be a place of an encounter with God. During this season of Advent, let us open our hearts for Christ’s coming. The more we prepare the more Christ is made visible in our daily lives.