Archive for December, 2010


The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 27, 2010


I wonder what makes a family holy?

I believe there are several misconceptions of holiness and of family life.  One of them is that it is better for the child to find out what they like and believe on their own.

If we take Mary and Joseph as an example, we find that holiness is found in decisive action – especially in a family.

Think about all of the things you have learned as a parent or from being around children?

Much of those things are found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.

So families should be decisive about being together and seen as a family because then they will be made holy.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Holy Family: (Sirach 3.2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3.12-21; Matthew 2.13-15, 19-23)


Christmas Day

December 26, 2010


More than just a meaning, I am always curious as to how such a holy day affects our soul?

As a priest, I find Christmas always feels like reconciliation – for a lot of reasons.

Just this past week, I was asked what a good confession sounds like?  And I think the answer sounds a lot like a good Christmas celebration.

So tune in to hear what I mean and what it means for all of us.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Christmas Day: (Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-6, John 1:1-18)


Christmas at Midnight

December 26, 2010


At Midnight Mass, we hear of the shepherds gathering around the new-born baby Jesus.  Of all the illustrations of this scene, my favorite comes from ‘The Nativity’ which portrays a dialogue between Mary, Joseph and a shepherd just before the birth.

In the movie, the shepherd tells Mary that we are all given a gift and admits that his only gift is the hope of waiting for one.

Tonight, we join the world in silent hope, and in our participation we are given a great gift.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Christmas at Midnight: (Isaiah 9:1-6, Timothy 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14)


Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 19, 2010


The great German writer and thinker Von Goethe wrote, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”  It is one of my favorite quotes and theme for our readings today.

In our first reading, we find Ahaz, the young king of Judah who is about to be attacked by the Assyrian army.  Obviously he is a bit nervous and so God appears to Ahaz and tells him “to ask for anything, be it as deep as the netherworld or as high as the sky”

But Ahaz declines the offer.  You see, Ahaz is somewhat of a skeptic.  He believes in his own abilities more than the ability of God.

The problem with Ahaz is that is thought too small.  He was only willing to see what was immediate and in his control.  He couldn’t dream big.

Which brings us to Joseph.  Joseph stands in contrast to Ahaz.  Ahaz who believed in his own ability and Joseph who believed in God’s – even when it made so very little sense.

What allows for one to dream such dreams and another not to?  Perhaps there are several things, but I think many of them come down to time.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: (Isaiah 7.10-14; Romans 1.1-7; Matthew 1.18-24)


Third Sunday of Advent

December 13, 2010


Isaiah tells us that the steppe will cry out, and that the desert will bloom.  They will see the glory of God, strengthen the hands that are feeble, and make firm the knees that are weak.  The eyes of the blind will be opened and the ears of the deaf will be cleared, the lame will leap like a wild stag and the mute will sing.

And so it is that Jesus tells the men who question him on John’s behalf.  “The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.”

These are very hopeful readings, and so we ask, “what is hope?”

Many people think of hope and optimism as one in the same, but they are quite different.  Optimism is a positive outlook on a situation; it is something that we create and decide.

Hope is that gift, the well-spring that gives us life when everything else falls short, and where we find hope, we find God.

Where do you find your hope?    When you look in the mirror, do you find hope there?

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent: (Isaiah 35.1-6, 10; James 5.7-10; Matthew 11.2-11)


Second Sunday of Advent

December 6, 2010


Today, we are reintroduced to the figure of John the Baptist.  “The voice crying in the desert”.  John is the one who proceeds Jesus – he announces to a people that a different encounter with the Divine is coming, and he did so outside the city and outside the temple.

The desert is a place of simplicity and poverty – a place where all the distractions go away.  I would often go out for long runs through the desert in the cool of the morning.  In the beginning, it was almost unnerving because I felt so exposed.   The desert requires a unique balance of confidence and humility.  Because too much confidence got your in trouble and too much humility would keep you inside all day long.

You see, we need silence and stillness in order to hear our inner voice – the voice of God.  It is the same reason John went out into the desert – so that his voice could be heard clearly.  Of course, the people who went to see him couldn’t just drop in, they went out to see him.

And John, in the desert, in this season of Advent preaches about repentance, and all of these things remind us that repentance is a process.  It doesn’t just happen.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent: (Isaiah 11.1-10; Romans 15.4-9; Matthew 3.1-12)


Message to Assumption Parish

December 6, 2010


When the Pharisees and Sadducees approached John the Baptist, they challenged what he was doing.  You see, they believed that their salvation came through the ancestry to Abraham.  But John told them that this would no longer do.  They had to change their ways, repent and prove their repentance by their works.

He was preparing the way for something better, but it required change.  Then Jesus came, not to begin a new religion, but to fulfill the laws of Judaism.  Christianity is a result of those who recognized the need for change – that the old law was no longer enough.  And Christianity grew because the apostles reached out to the gentiles (those outside their community), despite the anger and frustration from those who already belonged.

You see, Christianity is all about change.  Over the years, the Church has undergone enormous changes, and it will continue to do so.  Why?  Because every person that joins our family of faith brings their own contribution.