December 30, 2017

Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph (Dec. 31, 2017)


God’s Salvation Among Us

Simeon was a man who has been “awaiting the consolation of Israel” his whole life.  This life-long yearning was satisfied the moment his eyes saw God’s salvation.

And who brought him this experience of God’s salvation?  A simple and ordinary couple who fulfilled their responsibilities with God – observing what required of them as people of faith at that time, and their responsibilities as parents – doing what they knew as best for their son.

The mystery of the Incarnation, God-with-us, continues in the ordinary moments of life, and in the fulfillment of our daily responsibilities.

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December 24, 2017

Christmas 2017

(This Gospel passage is for Mass at Dawn on Christmas Day) 

The Shepherds – The First

After Mary and Joseph, shepherds were the first human beings to hear of the birth of the Savior.

Because of their work and their living situations, shepherds were social and religious outcasts.  As Pope Francis put it, “They were considered pagans among the believers, sinners among the just, foreigners among the citizens.” [1]

Yet, they were the first to hear the good news of the birth of the Savior proclaimed by the angel.
They responded and went to meet the Savior.  They praised God.  Then shared the news with others. 

They lowly people of the land became the recipients and sharers of God’s salvation.

[1] Pope Francis, Homily at Mass During the Night, Christmas 2017.
Image:  Bartolom√© Esteban Murillo, The Adoration of the Shepherd, c. 1650, Wikipedia

December 23, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent - B (December 24, 2017)

Luke 1:26-38

“The Lord is with you”

The angel Gabriel announces Mary’s unique place in God’s loving plan: "Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you."

With the Son of God coming into the flesh, we now are all given a share in this grace.  We are all full of grace.  The Lord is with us.

The loving presence of God gives dignity to each human person.

How do I view, treat, and present myself as God’s dwelling place?

How do I view and treat others as God’s dwelling places?

May we live in such a way that each human encounter reflects God’s presence in our world.  

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December 16, 2017

3rd Sunday of Advent - B (December 17, 2017)

“I Am Not”

“I am not…” is not the way that most of us commonly speak of ourselves.

We often emphasize who we are.  And sometimes when I say, “I am…” I might not be truthful, but I would rather avoid saying what I am not. 

It is probably partly because of my self-centeredness, and partly because of the self-promotion that is so valued in our culture. 

Unlike most of us, John the Baptist easily admits, “I am not the Christ,” “I am not Elijah,” and “I am not the Prophet.”  He even professes that he is not worthy to untie the Messiah’s sandal strap.

John knows who he truly is because he knows who Christ is.   

December 10, 2017

2nd Sunday of Advent - B (December 10, 2017)

The Gospel of the Son of God

Mark begins his account with “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God”

This is just the beginning.  It is to be enfolded and continued.

Interestingly, Mark has the beginning but does not have “the end” of his account of the Gospel. 

What enfolded in Jesus’ public life and ministry and his cross continues.

The title “the Son of God” appears two more time in Mark.  First, by the voice from the cloud at the transfiguration identifies Jesus as “my beloved Son.”  Second, when Jesus dies on the cross, the centurion acclaims, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

The Gospel of Jesus continues in us when our lives are lived and offered for others – as Jesus did.

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December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent - B (December 3, 2017)

“In Every Way You Have Been Enriched in Christ”

The Gospel of this First Sunday of Advent includes a parable.  Jesus tells us, “It is like a man traveling abroad.  He leaves home and places his servants in charge.”

“Placing (his servants) in charge” can also be translated as “giving them ability, permission, and liberty of doing as they please.”  In other words, the man gives his servants whatever they need to take his place while he is away.

We are not servants.  We are children of God. 

And as children, St. Paul assures us, reflecting on his own calling, “The grace of God has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind.  … so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2nd Reading from 1 Corinthians)

As we await and prepare for the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of God’s salvation, may we live as children of God, with the grace that has been given us in Christ Jesus.  In this way, we will be the light and hope of Christ in our world.