Sunday, December 28, 2008

Feast of the Holy Family

In the Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family, we hear again of God's Promises. God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation, and God (eventually) kept that promise, though time had passed and Abraham attempted to take matters into his own hands.
In our Gospel, we hear of Simeon and Anna. Simeon had been promised by the Holy Spirit that he would live to see the Messiah. While we can safely assume that he did not live another 30-plus years to see that fullness of salvation, he had seen the messiah, Jesus Christ. It was only a matter of time before the fulfillment. Anna, too, waited in fasting and prayer for the Messiah, and seeing Him, proclaimed Him to all who were also waiting. Can you imagine her joy? Can you imagine her words? "It is just a matter of time... He's here!"
God is the God of promises. He promised a savior, and He has sent Him.
Every year, the Church gives us the feast of the Holy Family to contemplate the face of Christ born to the Virgin Mary. The Holy Family is the school, as Pope John Paul II and Pope Paul VI proclaimed. May our families receive degrees from this school, and all priests and religious graduates of the School of Nazareth.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday of Advent

This weekend's readings, we hear of God's will for the Blessed Mother given to her in the message from the Angel Gabriel. She was ready and prepared, aware of her need of a savior. Remember though free from original and actual sin, she was pre-redeemed by Jesus Christ and was still in need of His life, death, and resurrection. Hearing the message of the Angel, she receives it with joy and humility. She willingly allows the will of God to be done. Not fully knowing the 'hows', she knows the why: for the her salvation, and that of the whole world and our souls. She provides the temple for the Son of God to dwell (hence the first reading). Through her, He will be born. She receives the Lord.
In addition to John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary can provide another way of living Advent. She was ready to receive the Lord! As we count and prepare for these last days before Christmas, we should remember that God has a plan for us, too. We ought to be ready to do His will, and to receive Him with joy.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Messaggio Natale 2008

The Christmas message from the Congregation of the Clergy has been released. It is reproduced here for your reading and spiritual health:

To all the dear Priests, Deacons and Catechists of the Entire World

I extend my joyous and fraternal wishes for a holy and festive Christmas, and that the year 2009 be enlightened, grace filled a full of accomplishments in the service of Jesus Christ and of our brothers and sisters, especially those who are poor or suffering. Christmas does not confine us to a commemoration of an extraordinary event in the past, recalled with gratitude and love, but it is also an event which is actualised in the present day, in our midst.
Jesus Christ comes because he loves us and wants to save us from evil: from every evil, and even from death. He comes to welcome us, to make us experience his love, to transform us into his disciples, true sons of the heavenly Father, to invite us to proclaim in the entire world that God is Love, and that he loves us unconditionally, without measure. Jesus comes! He becomes our companion on the journey of life. Let us be gathered to him. Let us allow him to overcome us and to make his dwelling within us. He will eat with us in an unimaginable communion, in which he will have us experience the mysterious and efficacious depth of his friendship and his salvation. Enlightened and transformed by this encounter with Him we will be able to proclaim him to every man and woman of our time. Behold, such is Christmas!

Cláudio Cardinal Hummes
Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo
Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cardinal Arinze Presents "Letter to Young Priest"

A new book by Cardinal Arinze, "Letter to Young Priest", was announced by ZENIT news yesterday. The article seems to hit the highlights of the book. He addresses the priestly promises of celibacy, poverty, and obedience. It looks like an excellent book for a priest or seminarian in need of a little encouragement.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday of Advent

Rejoice, again I say it, Rejoice! Our readings, prayers, and liturgical colors this week are ones of joy. We hear of John the Baptist, the one who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. His life was one that was marked with repentance, but also with joy. He leapt for joy in the womb of his mother as Mary and the newly conceived Christ greeted Elizabeth. His clothing were harbingers of his role as the Elijah - the one who has to prepare the way. He denied that he was Elijah, but not the one who was promised to come in the line of Elijah. He denied he was the Prophet - that title was reserved for the Messiah. He ate locusts and wild honey, ritually clean food. He would spend his life proclaiming the coming Messiah, not caught in the trappings of titles, clothing, or food. He simply proclaimed a message of repentance. The repentance is our response to God's grace, while God brings us reconciliation through the Messiah. Truly, here is reason to rejoice!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Second Sunday of Advent

Our readings this weekend provide much comfort. We hear the prophet Isaiah being told to comfort God's people. In the second reading, we are comforted to hear that the Lord is not as much delaying His return as allowing us the time to prepare our hearts and live in holiness and grow in devotion before the final dissolution of the world in the purifying fire of God. The Gospel is of the beginning of Mark's Gospel, and the preaching of John, his baptism of repentance and the prophecy of the Messiah's soon revelation.

We may not like to admit that we are sinners. Those who cannot admit they are sinners cannot admit they need a savior. The greater the sin, the greater the need for a savior, too. We live in a world that tries to explain away sin, and Christ as a result. Comfort comes not in saying we do not sin, but that we have a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are set free in Baptism, and renewed in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We are invited to live and conduct ourselves as if already in the new Heaven and new Earth.

Friday, December 5, 2008


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