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3rd Sunday of Advent

December 14, 2014

RECOGNIZING CHRIST WITHIN

In the Gospel we hear that the Jews asked John, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?”

John answered them,“I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize”. . . . (whispering) that would be Jesus.

But why couldn’t the Jews recognize him? There is, of course, no one answer: as we know many expected the Messiah to come as royalty or a warrior – in both cases purifying and uniting the kingdom of Israel.

In the context of today’s readings and Advent emphasis on repentance, you could say that people did not recognize the Messiah on account of their own sinfulness, which blinded them to the Truth.

And while both of these reasons are valid and true, I would like us to reflect on a third possibility: that they simply didn’t believe it was possible for God to act through someone so ordinary – someone like themselves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 61:1-2, 10-11; Luke 1:46-54; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28).

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 7, 2014

COMFORT IN THE DESERT

Through our second reading Peter tells us that we should not ignore this FACT: that with the Lord one day is like a 1000 years.

While we may feel God is ignoring us, God is not; rather God is waiting for us to be ready for the fulfillment of a promise. Throughout the scriptures we are reminded that most of us really aren’t ready for the answer to our prayers just yet. Oh we may think we are, but only because we think God is going to answer our prayers like WE THINK God should.

But God’s ways are not our ways, and so we must wait while we LET GO of our expectations of God’s response.

But letting go is never in one’s life program. No one says, “I want to be really wonderful a letting go.” Perhaps that is why the first messenger of our salvation appeared in a desert, for if there was ever a place we learn to let go, it is there.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11; Psalm 85; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8).

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First Sunday of Advent

November 30, 2014

A SEASON OF POETRY

Advent is a season of poetry – rich and layered. It is about hope, for the fulfillment of a promise, without understanding what that fulfillment will be.

It is a light breaking through the darkness – not the many coloured lights we see in the city or at Christmastime, but a single solitary light that gives rise to the expectation that something more might follow.

It is a season of the impossible becoming reality – the return from exile, the end of war, healing of suffering, peace that overcomes fear, the breaking down of division between those who have power and those who don’t.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the First Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 63: 16-17, 19, 64:2-7; Psalm 80; I Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:33-37).

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Solemnity of Christ the King

November 22, 2014

SHEPHERD OF THE SHEEP

Our readings today remind us that a king does not rule by authority; but rather, by his service to the people in his care.

Thus says the Lord God:  I myself will look after and tend my sheep.

 The scattered sheep

The Lost sheep.

The sheep in need of rescue

The sheep longing for a pasture.

 I myself will tend my sheep says the Lord God.  And give them rest.

In these rather poetic and forceful readings, we are challenged to see the worthiness in others as well as in our selves.  We are reminded that while a king has authority and power, he is more like Christ when he serves.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Solemnity of Christ the King (Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17; Psalm 23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28; Matthew 25:31-46).

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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

November 16, 2014

HOW DOES GOD DESCRIBE YOU?

I want you to think for a moment: how would God describe you?

Paul tells the Thessalonians that “we are children of the light” Our Psalm response reminds us that we are blessed when we fear the Lord and walk in his ways. Perhaps, we too are like the wife described in the Psalm: a fruitful vine.

Do we follow the example of wife we hear about in Proverbs? Working with loving hands? Extending our arms to the needy. Are we like the husband, willing to entrust our heart to her?

What would God say? How would God describe you?

CLICK HERE for the readings for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31; Psalm 128; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30).

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Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

November 9, 2014

GLORIOUS AND INGLORIOUS

I have always struggled with this feast. It seems strange to have a day, let alone a Sunday dedicated to a building. Granted I know all too well, buildings are important, but what does a building have its own feast day?

As I was lamenting this point with my confreres, I was instructed to read Basilian Fr. Owen Lee’s comments on the Basilica of St. John Lateran – and it warmed my heart. So I want to share with you a bit of his own his thoughts and words paraphrased with my own.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Basilica, it could probably best be described as the loveliest and ugliest churches in Rome. It is under constant repair and is exactly what it looks to be: one renovation on top of another. It has been partially destroyed countless times but it has always survived just enough to rise again.

And we celebrate it: because, perhaps more than any other building on earth, it IS OUR CHURCH. It reflects US. John Lateran’s stones, both hideous and glorious have stood the test of time just as humanity with all of its virtues and vices, our potential for good and evil, has survived and continues to flourish.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome (Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12; Psalm 46; I Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-17; John 2:13-22).

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The Commemoration of All Souls

November 2, 2014

WHY WE REMEMBER. . .

Just this past week, I was talking about prayer with our RCIA candidates, and was quite appropriately asked, “but why do we pray for the dead?”

The answer is two fold: one, because we believe that many of them are still struggling to receive the full grace of God that allows them to receive the gift of eternal life. After all, it is a tremendous gift – one many of us, I imagine, will feel unworthy of.

The second reason is that we believe they are not dead, but alive in a different state.

Of course, it is also coupled with All Saints – a day when we not only remember the proclaimed saints of the Church, but the many, many more who God has recognized.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the The Commemoration of All Souls (Lamentations 3:17-26; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; Matthew 25-30).

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