Archive for December, 2013

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Feast of the Holy Family

December 29, 2013

HOLINESS CAN MAKE QUITE A MESS

In our second reading, St. Paul offers the directive:  put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, among other things. . .

Sirach tells us we are to honour one another and take care of one another well into their old age.

And it is hard not to notice the contrast between Herod and Joseph in the Gospel.  Herod literally killed his own children, and killed hundreds others, in his quest for power.  He was vain and ruthless.  Every action, even seemingly good ones like rebuilding the temple, were for his own benefit.

Joseph, on the other hand, transcended his own ego and sought first, to care for the lives of Mary and Jesus before tending to his own concerns.

So are all these things what makes a family holy?  These various lessons from Matthew, St. Paul and Sirach?  Well. . . yes.  But it does not mean they are perfect.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Feast of the Holy Family (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23).

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The Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas 2013)

December 25, 2013

A REASON TO FEAR?

In the days that lead up to Christmas, we have a chance to listen to all the stories that lead up to the birth of Christ in a particular succession:  the stories of Zachariah, Elizabeth, John the Baptist and his disciples, the Annunciation and the Visitation.  In every single one:  someone says “Do not be afraid”.  In tonight’s reading, the shepherds too are told not be afraid.

But it is Christmas, what is there to be afraid of?  This is the time of good-will, peace on earth, the birth of our savior, joy to the world, silent nights and silver bells and such. . .

But on the other hand, we are talking about saving the world, the birth of a child, the toppling of kingdoms, a new world order.  All pretty scary stuff when you stop to think about it.

Is there a reason to be afraid at Christmas?  If we are paying attention. . . I think so.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 22, 2013

SHARING OUR STORY

Our readings highlight the stories of two men:  Ahaz and Joseph.  Their situations are similar, but their outcomes are very different.

Ahaz is a king who is about to be overthrown by an invading army.  He is a terribly immoral king, and so decides that he will make a pact with the invaders in order to save himself.  However, it requires selling the dignity and independence of the people he is supposed to protect, leaving Isaiah furious.

Joseph’s story is one we know well.  Like Ahaz, he has a plan to save himself from Mary’s scandal, but rather than take actions into his own hands, he listens to the voice of God – the same voice that Ahaz refused.

In the last Sunday of Advent, we must ask ourselves who we find ourselves relating to?

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 7:10-14; Psalm 24; Romans 1:1-7; Matthew 1:18-24).

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The Third Sunday of Advent

December 15, 2013

SIGNS OF INCARNATE HOPE

This Sunday is known to us as Gaudete Sunday – the Sunday of Rejoice.  Our readings certainly reflect this.  There is a deep hope in each of them.  As we listen, we are undoubtedly filled with joy for we know how the story ends – we know what we can look forward to:  Christmas.  The Word made Flesh.  God incarnate.  The birth of our Savior, Jesus.

But as you listen to the readings today, listen for the transformations:  the deaf hear, the dead raised, the desert blooms, the feeble hands strengthened, the weakened knees made firm.

Listen first to the sadness, anguish, and pain.  And when you do, then we can start to talk about hope and joy.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Third Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 35:1-6, 10; Psalm 146; James 5:7-10; Matthew 11:2-11).

The author and article referenced can be found here:  Okoro, Enuma.  The Fullness of Joy.  SheLoves Magazine.  December 2, 2013.

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Second Sunday of Advent

December 8, 2013

AN IMPOSSIBLE TIME

But every year about this time – during the season of Advent and Christmas, we are called to listen afresh to these old stories that re-charge our imagination, leaving us wide-eyed and hopeful.  We are asked to become children once again – but this time, aware and awakened – to believe in the outrageous.  To believe in the miracles of God that have happened, and I would argue, continue to happen.

You see the stories of this season are the stories that God has been trying to tell us since the very beginning of creation.   Nothing is impossible with God.

No one embodies this more than Isaiah – the dreams we hear about!

The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion – instinctual enemies shall lie together with a child to guide them. 

How does such a dream begin?  How does it become a reality?

CLICK HERE for the readings of the Second Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12).

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First Sunday of Advent

December 1, 2013

BE PREPARED

This first Sunday of Advent, our readings remind us that salvation will come from when and how we least expect it.  But how do we prepare for what do not know or understand?  This is not just a question of the second coming, which is how we usually hear this message, but how do we pre are for the moment when we need God?  When our own strength, resources, abilities are just not enough to weather the storms of the day?

We live in a world that tries to prepare for the worst, whether natural disasters, terrorism, or economic downturns, we try, but it is often the relational disasters that affect us most.

St. Paul tells the Romans that Salvation is nearer now that when we first believed.  Do we believe that?  Do we believe that we have everything we need to weather the storms?  Do we believe that we are prepared?  Advent is the time when we realize this.

CLICK HERE for the readings of the First Sunday of Advent (Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:37-44).