Archive for December, 2012

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Feast of the Holy Family 2012

December 30, 2012

A HOLY FAMILY TODAY

Too often, I think we idealize Joseph and Mary as the ideal parents and Jesus as the ideal child – even if we know in our mind, they were not.  We literally, put them on pedestals, which is good – but we need to understand why.

Today we celebrate the feast of the holy family, which is not the same as the ideal or good family.

But the bible does not tell us that Mary and Joseph were good parents – it simply never comments on the matter.  Nor does the bible comment that Jesus was a well-behaved child.  What the bible says is that they were holy.  So what does that mean?

CLICK HERE  for the readings for Feast of the Holy Family: (Sirach 3:2-6,12-14; Psalm 128; Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:41-52)

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Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas) 2012

December 26, 2012

ANSWERED BY A CHILD

Have you ever asked why God chose this way?  Why was this story, the one we hear at Christmas every year, the plan that God chose to save the world?  But in order to answer that question, perhaps we must ask ourselves what we need saving from?

All of the sudden, God’s plan does not seem so crazy after all, for so many of our issues are resolved by the presence of a child.

May this season of Christmas remind us about what is really important and may it be a holy and joyous time for each and everyone.

CLICK HERE  for the readings for Christmas Eve: (Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14)

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 23, 2012

THE FULFILLMENT OF A PROMISE

Our first reading from the prophet Micah sings the praises of Bethlehem, a small insignificant town from where a ruler of Israel shall come.  Because of the time that we live, we hear this passage and immediately think of the birth of Christ; however, Bethlehem was known first as the City of David.

Remember that Israel had been given a promise:  that David’s lineage would last forever.  So this is not just about Christ, but also about King David, under whose reign Israel was united; under whose reign there was peace.

And so we hear that the fulfillment of God’s promise, given long ago, is near.  The heir of David would bring peace and that is why Jesus is the “prince” of peace – the one in whom a dream is realized.

So too in our Gospel, we hear again, the story of the Visitation.  But often, it does not mean for us, what it meant for the first century Jew.  The hill country of Judah was not just any place, it was the location of the ark of the covenant when David found it and brought it to Jerusalem.  Upon discovering the ark, David so famously danced before the presence of God.

Now, Mary is signaled as the New Ark of the Covenant as she goes to that same place and John dances before the Lord in Elizabeth’s womb.

You see, God does not abandon God’s people or forget the promises that have been made.  Rather, dreams take time to be realized and so we must not give up hope.

CLICK HERE  for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent: (Micah 5:1-4; Psalm 80; Hebrews 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45)

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Third Sunday of Advent

December 17, 2012

JOY NOT JUDGMENT

One of my great frustrations with many churches is the judgment that many people feel. Of course, in some cases, it is because people feel guilty for what they have done, but in many other cases, it comes from the pharisaical pride of regular church-goers.

But neither represents the Church I love. Our readings today are very clear: there is no place for judgment in the Church. No matter what you have done, no matter who you are, this – here and now – should be an encounter with joy. Not just a surface level feeling, but a warmth deep inside that reminds you that you are loved unconditionally.

Of course, when most people go to church, this is probably not the description they would offer about their experience, but both Zephaniah and John offer explicit challenges to the establishment and way things were typically done.

CLICK HERE  for the readings for the Third Sunday of Advent: (Zephaniah 3:14-18; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippines 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18)

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 10, 2012

A SEASON AMONG MANY

It is helpful to have a bit of background. Baruch was a sort of secretary to Jeremiah, both of whom living during the most disasterous period of Israel’s history – the Babylonian Captivity.

Now most of us probably think about the Egyptian slavery as the work oppression God’s people suffered, but that was nothing compared to the Babylonian captivity.

Our Gospel echoes Baruch. Luke is going to give us a list of names that represent the whole of the hierarchy of political and social governance in the day. These names represent terrible oppression.

And in both cases, Baruch and Luke tell the people to prepare their hearts and minds, for the Lord is going to act. As we hear these readings this evening, we must ask ourselves, what needs preparing in your life in order for God to act? What do you need to facilitate the arrival of God in your life today?

CLICK HERE  for the readings for the Second Sunday of Advent: (Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126; Philippians 1:4-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6)

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First Sunday of Advent

December 3, 2012

THE MEANING OF ADVENT

Every year, Advent seems to catch us off guard – how can it be here already?  Where did the semester go?  What do you mean I have a final next week?!?!

In this respect, the fear our Gospel might evoke about the end times is quite appropriate – for the end may indeed be near and we are no where near ready!

But our Gospel also contains a clear instruction:  do not let the anxieties of life catch you by surprise, but be vigilant and pray.  THIS is advent.

What does Advent mean to you?

Advent is a chance for us to regain control of our lives – to reassess what is necessary and strip away what is not.  During these days, we remember the exile of our ancestors who waited with nothing more than hope for their salvation.

CLICK HERE  for the readings for the First Sunday of Advent: (Jeremiah 33:14-16; Psalm 25; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28,34-36)