Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

When we celebrate Christmas we honor the birth of Christ come in the flesh to dwell among us. But like any child in this world, he is born into a family. The Christian value of family life is highlighted this day when we pray in the opening prayer by asking God to help us imitate the example of the Holy Family by practicing the virtues of family life and the bonds of charity. It is the bond of charity that holds a family together. Whatever the makeup of our particular family, exercising the bond of charity within the family unit helps us act in charity out in the world.

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Our Advent preparation heightens as we anticipate our celebration of Christmas this Tuesday. Isn't it amazing? God chose to save our world through the birth of Jesus, son Mary, wife of Joseph. What a clever but simple plan! As clever and simple as creation itself. As clever and simple as the unraveling of history. Even more amazing is the fact that we ourselves are, and always have been, a part of that plan, a part of that creation, a part of that birth, a part of that unraveling of history. For this baby, whose birth we are about to celebrate, was destined to be the Messiah, the Christ, whose mission was to begin to announce the reign of God. Jesus wasted no time in recruiting help to assure the continued success of his divine mission. Thus Jesus and we, the Church, were born simultaneously.

When we stand before the manger with our children and our grandchildren we realize that Jesus was once as small as they are. But Jesus learned from the world around him, accepted God's call to grow up and become mature enough to be willing to die for those he loved. And that began the salvation of our world. We hope we can learn from the world around us. We hope we can accept God's call to grow up. We hope we can become mature enough to be willing to die for those we love. We hope we, the Church, can continue the salvation of our world.

Fr. Russell, Sr. Jolenta 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 bountiful gifts in the new year to come!

Third Sunday of Advent

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near" (Phil. 4:4-5). This Third Sunday of Advent has been traditionally called Gaudete Sunday, the Latin word meaning "rejoice". As the season of Advent continues to unfold, - we are reminded that the coming of Christ into the world is a time of rejoicing, for the Lord is soon to be in our midst in a manner outstanding in human history.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent

John the Baptist, one of the great Advent figures makes his appearance in today's Gospel. While John's role as herald for Jesus is evident in each of the Gospels, St. Luke gives a much more detailed account of John's role. In the infancy narrative in Luke (Chap. 1-2) John's annunciation and birth parallels the same events in Jesus' infancy. In today's selection, the Gospel writer puts the words of the prophet Isaiah on John as though he is being given a role of prophecy: "A voice of one crying in the desert: 'Prepare the way of the Lord!'" We may ask ourselves, "In what way is the life of John the Baptist like my life? How do I prepare the way of the Lord for my family members, or my neighbors, or those with whom I work?"

We witness the saving and sanctifying Gospel with what we do as well as what we say - including when we "give God persmission," as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta often said, to convert our own hearts more deeply to Christ.

Here are some simple ways for us to say Yes to deeper personal conversaion to Jesus:
Put up an Advent wreath.
Place a cross or sacred-art tiem in every room.
Pray every time a siren sounds.
Cross yourself when passing a church.
Create a prayer corner.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First Sunday of Advent

Happy New Year! We begin this weekend the new liturgical year with the season of Advent. The opening prayer for this first Sunday of Advent asks God to give us the resolve to run forth to meet Christ at his coming with righteous deeds. Sounds like a good New Year's resolution to make. We don't often think of the liturgy in terms of justice, but this Advent season is filled with it. One day, Jesus will return in his glory to judge all the world. Our preparation for his return is to live the faith we profess and to act in charity toward all our brothers and sisters. Justice will prevail when we show the love of Christ each day in all our deeds. Again, have a blessed New Year!