The landscapes of our towns have changed since Thanksgiving Day ended. Christmas is the next major celebration. We prepare for Christmas in the season of advent; a time we reflect on the coming of the Lord. It is no surprise therefore that our landscapes have become colorful again with lights and beautiful designs in preparation for Christmas. This season is important for our spirituality and for our eternal salvation because we remember the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem of Judea.READ MORE
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King as the culmination of the Church’s liturgical year before we begin a new liturgical year with Advent. There are two themes resonating through the readings for this great feast: 1.) the end of time and the final judgment; and 2.) the reign of Jesus Christ as king of the universe. In the first reading, we see God portrayed as a shepherd with the people who faithfully follow Him being His sheep.READ MORE
Jesus speaks in cryptic language here about coming judgment. He uses language that is reminiscent of the Old Testament prophets, including Daniel in the first reading. There is dual meaning here. First, Jesus points forward to judgment upon the city of Jerusalem. This was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans conquered Israel, pillaged Jerusalem, and leveled the Temple. This fulfillment makes sense of Jesus’ statement that “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place.”READ MORE
I was never a boy scout, but even I know what their famous saying is; Be Prepared! As we approach the end of this Church year and start a new one when we Advent begins, the gospel today and next Sunday speak to us of being ready and prepared.
In our ordinary everyday lives we all know how to prepare and get ready. We get ready if we have an appointment with the doctor. We get ready for school or for work. If we are going out to somewhere special, we spend extra time getting ready and being prepared. We wait for our favorite television program to start. We all know what happens when we are at the bus stop. We check at our watches as we look up and down the street anxiously hoping that the bus will arrive sooner rather than later.READ MORE
Every morning as I set out for Mass, many thoughts rise with me from my bed. The faces I saw yesterday at morning Mass are the likely the faces I may see again sitting down, meditating, and patiently waiting for Mass to begin. I find this highly encouraging for my ministry, and above all, for my spiritual life. In my reflections, I always remember this admonishment from the Bible: ‘Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth’ (Ecclesiastes 12:1).READ MORE
When you find something of value, you are likely to share your findings with others. Unless it is a cache of gold in the Gobi Desert, you are likely to announce your find so that others can share in your joy. Gold can lead to some selfish behavior and you are likely to avoid hasty publicity and, in the process, lead others to plunder the site and cart away your newly found precious metals. Valuable items are guarded jealously. And when we discover something that is most valuable to our lives, we marvel at the discovery and celebrate it like no other in the past.READ MORE
When Jesus says, ‘the greatest among you must be your servant’, he wants all Christians to add humility in their repertoire of talents while serving others. By itself, leadership in whatever form, is meant to add value to people’s lives and allow them to taste a future reality from the present. Jesus exemplified this by laying down his life for all people. It wasn’t out of weakness that he did this, but out of love for sinful humanity that we may live.READ MORE
In a world that is gradually secularizing, maintaining the sacred becomes difficult. The Christian is constantly at danger of being attacked for his beliefs, his dogmas, and his teachings about the purpose of human existence. How did we find ourselves here and where are we going after we die? The answer is as varied as our belief systems. For the Christian, the meaning of human existence is completely tied to the purpose of God’s love for the world which man is given a supreme role. It is the duty of man to remember his Creator, for we came from him, and we shall return to him.READ MORE
(Adapted from the writings of St. Francis de Sales, especially Sermons, L. Fiorelli, Ed.)
In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God will be given to those who live the Lord’s way of truth and sacred love. St. Francis de Sales expands on this:
How happy we shall be if we love this divine Goodness that has prepared such favors and blessings for us! God became one of us so that we might become like God. Our Savior gave us His life not only to heal the sick, work miracles, and teach us what we must do to have a life-giving, healthy life. He also used his entire life choosing to shape His cross by enduring insults from those for whom He was doing so much good. He chose to give up His life for His people who rejected Him.READ MORE
Our modern society and wider world are places of extremes; we have the very wealth and the desperately poor. In our newspapers and on our televisions, we see the many stories of people who have more money, wealth and riches than they will ever need. We also see those who are struggling just to stay alive each day. We are told that our economies are recovering after the serious financial crash. Yet the number of food banks and charity shops are growing daily. Many churches and charities report that more and more people are looking for help and support with the basic necessities of life.READ MORE
The gospel tells us that if we want to be Jesus’ disciples we must become like children and consider ourselves the slaves of all. The greatness of a Christian consists in serving others, particularly the poorest. In the Christian community who occupies the first place has to put aside all desire of greatness. The church is not a stepping stone to get to positions of prestige, to emerge, to gain control over others. It is the place where everyone complies with the gifts he has received from God, celebrate their greatness in humble service to others. In God’s eyes, the greatest is the one who most resembles Christ, who is the servant of all (Lk 22:27).READ MORE
Today’s 1st reading (Isa 50:5-9a) a mysterious figure is offered to us. He is a man hit, humiliated, insulted, beaten (vv. 5-6), that God, however, has not abandoned in the hands of the enemy. He glorified him, giving success to his mission and showing everyone that he was a righteous person (vv. 8-9).
It is hard to say if the Prophet was referring to a real man or if he was talking, in a symbolic way, of the people of Israel, destroyed by the violence of the enemy. What is certain is that the early Christians saw in this character the image of their Master, Jesus of Nazareth, rejected by his contemporaries, opposed and defeated by the religious and political leaders of his time, but recognized by God, through the resurrection, as the real winner.READ MORE
If we could see just a fraction of the graces available before the Blessed Sacrament, we would flock to the nearest chapel each and every day. When I visited churches to deliver a speech, I could often sense when that church had Adoration. I could sense it because there was a feeling of peace and unusually high Mass attendance.
The Blessed Sacrament draws people. It imbues the church with an aura of holiness. It also draws vocations. A young man wants to feel the Holy Spirit –and if he doesn’t, he is not going to aim for a life that is priestly. Period. It is time to bring back the Holy Spirit.READ MORE