December 31, 2016

Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2017)

Luke 2: 16 – 21

Mary Reflects on Them in Her Heart

“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

We wonder what she might have reflected on. 

She probably reflected on the events that happened in her personal life.  These were singular events because she alone became the Mother of the Messiah (the appearance and the message from angel, her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, and the words Elizabeth said to her, the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, giving birth to her son in a manger, the visit of the shepherds, the message they heard from the angel…).  She probably pondered what it meant for her to be the mother of the One “who will save his people from their sins,” her own plans for her life, her relationship with Joseph, their future, …. 

She might have also reflected on the events that affected the life of her people at that moment – when they were under Roman rule, that the Roman Emperor at the time had declared himself to be the “savior of the world,” the census that she, Joseph, and their nation were subjected to….  How will her Son be the savior of this kind of a world?

How about the whole history of God’s chosen people – her nation? God’s promise to them through their ancestors and the words of the prophets….  All of these is now being fulfilled in her life.  She must have reflected on that too.

In this passage, we also heard about the shepherds and those who hear the shepherds’ testimony.  Unlike Mary, there is no indication that these people reflect on the events they have witnessed.

“Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.”

Therefore, it is no surprise that She will be present throughout Jesus’ life, all the way to the cross.

She truly is the bearer of God’s Word. 

Image:  Icon 13th-century Great Panagia from Yaroslavl.

December 24, 2016

Christmas 2016


"The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (John 1: 9, 5)

May the Light of Christ shine forever in our hearts and in our world.

December 17, 2016

4th Sunday of Advent - A


What’s in the Name?

In this Gospel passage, Matthew records two names for the child soon to be born:  Jesus and Emmanuel. 

“Jesus” can be translated as “God saves.”  Or as the angel explains to Joseph, “because he will save his people from their sins”

The remainder of Advent offers us an opportunity to ask ourselves if we truly believe that Jesus is the only Savior.  We can put so much hope and expectations on political leaders, celebrities, star athletes, or in our talents, abilities, resources, money, popularity…. And the list goes on.  But only Jesus saves us from sins.

Emmanuel: “God is with us.”

Our Savior is not a kind of a troubleshooting superhero who flashes in and out when we are in need of help, or in trouble.   

Our Savior is a loving God who desires to be with us.  In fact, the Gospel of Matthew ends with the Emmanuel’s assurance to his disciples, “I am with you always, until the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:20).

The Savior who was born to us in Bethlehem is with us always – in each of us, in all people as His brothers and sisters, in all of God’s creation, and most especially in his words and in the Sacraments.

4th Sunday of Advent - A (January 18, 2016)


December 10, 2016

3rd Sunday of Advent - A


The One Who is to Come

John the Baptist has certain expectations of Jesus.

Jesus, on the contrary, presents the signs of “the one who is to come” that seem to be different than John's expectations. They are 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.”

People of our times continue to have their own expectations of Jesus.

What signs of “the one who is to come” do I present to people in my proclamation of Jesus?

3rd Sunday of Advent - A (December 11, 2016)


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December 3, 2016

2nd Sunday of Advent - A



Matthew indicates that “At that time Jerusalem, all Judea, and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to” listen to John the Baptist.

A careful look at the map of the region suggests that the people who listen to John were both Jews and Gentiles.  In fact, Matthew seems to imply that even the Samaritans [1] went to John to be baptized.

John goes on further saying, “God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.”

It cannot be more inclusive than that.

The Kingdom of God is open to all. 

John invites everybody to live that reality of God’s Kingdom.

Do I share God’s invitation with the same generosity?  Or do I keep certain people out because of my prejudices?


2nd Sunday of Advent - A (December 4, 2016)


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