Archive for December, 2014

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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

December 28, 2014

INHERITING THE HOLY

Too often we romanticize the “holy family” as a perfect family, but they were far from perfect as we typically think of this description. Mary and Joseph made lots of mistakes – there were first time parents after all!

But we call them holy because they believed in God and the relationship they had with their God. In doing so, they found true freedom – not doing whatever they wanted, but freedom to follow God – free of the bonds of expectations – personal or societal.

And this is the belief system that they passed on – to all of us actually: that holiness is not perfection; it is freedom to follow the Spirit’s beckoning. Which by the way never strayed away from the law of God. You see, they needed the structures of the law to give them room to believe – which can feel paradoxical, especially in our society today, but it is the truth of their example.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the the Holy Family (Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Psalm 128; Colossians 3:12-17; Luke 2:22-40).

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The Nativity of Our Lord (Christmas) 2014

December 25, 2014

DESIRE AND FULFILLMENT

Perhaps more than any other time of year, Christmas is a time of nostalgia. It is a time when the child in us emerges once again. When we reconnect with our families; sing songs written decades, if not centuries ago; and relive traditions that any other time of year fail to even cross our mind.

When were children, Christmas was a time of desire and fulfillment. Desires of toys and sugary foods arrived in abundance on Christmas morning. As we aged, those desires changed, often making their fulfillment a little harder to manage. The things we want have bigger price tags than the things we wanted long ago.

But then we age a little more and suddenly the things we desire aren’t very expensive at all.

In his book, No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton asks: “Why do we spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be? If only we knew what we wanted. Why do we waste our time doing things which, if we only stopped to think about them, are just the opposite of what we were made for?”

I think Christmas is a time to remember what we are made for – to desire the right things. It is a time when we ask what or who we believe in? Which is a rather poignant question these days since most of us don’t simply inherit a belief system any more. Now we question everything – which is not bad, so long as we know which questions to ask. . .

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Nativity of Our Lord (Isaiah 9:1-6; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14).

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 21, 2014

MARY, DID YOU KNOW?

For any of you that use social media, you have undoubtedly heard this year’s seasonal hit song from Pentatonix entitled, Mary, Did You Know?

“Did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water? Save our sons and Daughters? Give sight to the blind and calm the storm with his hand? Did you know that your Baby boy is the Lord of all Creation and one day rule the nations? That he is heaven’s perfect Lamb and the Great I am?”

. . . well. . . yes. . . . and no. After all what does a mother really know – what do any of us really know about our children at that age? And even more, do we really want to know?

What did Mary KNOW? It is hard to say. . . but we don’t celebrate Mary because of what she knew – we celebrate her because of what and who she believed.

CLICK HERE for the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent (2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12-14,16; Psalm 89; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38).

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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).