Archive for December, 2011

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The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

December 24, 2011

THE POETRY OF A BABY

Archbishop Timothy Dolan (New York) says that Christmas celebrates the fact that God will not take “No” for an answer.  He just keep trying, he wants to break through to us, he want to get through to us.  Finally God said, maybe they’ll listen to a baby, because nothing changes lives like a baby!

Now I know enough people who have had children to know this to be true, but I would like hear from those of you who have had children.  How did having a baby change you?  What did you learn from that little one?

And so what I would suggest is that those very same things you have learned from your child are in fact the very same things you learn from a relationship with God – only at a broader level that applies to everyone and everything.

This is poetry.  It is metaphor.  It is art.  It is song.  Think of all of the images, sounds, and flavors of Christmas – this is, quite literally, God breaking through into our lives in order to get our attention – to tell us that there is something more than what you have conceived in your mind.

CLICK HERE for the Readings for Christmas Eve: (Isaiah 9:2-4, 6-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-16)

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 18, 2011

HOUSE-BUILDERS

Our readings today are even about building houses.

In our first reading, David decides he is going to build a “proper house” for God since God has been living in a tent as Israel made its way from exile to Jerusalem.

But God, through Nathan, says to David that God will instead build a bigger and better house far beyond what David can imagine. In fact, God tells David that he will build a dynasty that will last forever. Virtually the same message is told to Mary by Gabriel. Her own body will be the house – indeed a house much different than anything she might have imagined.

“For nothing is impossible with God” – Mary is told.

Do you remember what I said at the beginning of Advent – four Sundays ago? What is advent all about?

This last Sunday of Advent, we recognize that our house has turned out differently than we imagined, but it is indeed a grand house!

CLICK HERE for the Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: (2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16; Psalm 89; Romans 16:25-38; Luke 1:26-38)

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Third Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2011

REPENT AND THINK DIFFERENTLY

When you think of advent, what words come to mind?

As you listen to the readings this Sunday, they all speak of a coming, but as we have already discussed, this is not simply the coming of a little baby – this is the coming of a new world order.  It is the beginning of a revolution.

But how did this new world order begin?  Was it a grand plan?  Some strategic initiative?  A new system of government?  A new economic stimulus?  Nope.  It was brought about by the repentance of a person – one after the other.

It was as Mother Teresa answered when she was asked how you change the world – she replied, one person at a time.

But the difficulty with this is not that it takes time, which is true, but I think that many of us struggle with the idea of repentance, especially in our world today.

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

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 5, 2011

THE VOICE OF ADVENT

The first 39 chapters of Isaiah speak of Israel and Jerusalem as relatively prosperous, self-confident and material-minded.  But this new author speaks from a new place – the people once so confident are now exiled, discouraged, dazed, and in need of consolation.  They do not need to be punished or tried any further – they need to be sustained.

And so today that is what we hear in the first chapter of an exiled Isaiah – chapter 40 – which reads like an overture to an entire discourse.

Isaiah reminds us today that there is a way out of the wilderness.  We all feel like exiles in this world; we all feel lost; we all feel like we are not where we are supposed to be.  But this is not a story about being lost – this is a story about the long way home.

There is value in our wandering, for it is purifying, but we must not wander for too long for what we have learned is to be shared – shouted from upon the mountain-tops.

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)