Monday, January 16, 2017

Transfer of Power

In case you have not seen a newspaper, or been on the world wide web at all, over the past year, we have a pretty significant transfer of power happening this week in the United States. 

That transfer, so far, has been ... not so smooth.  Both current and elect seem to be ridiculing one another at every turn, trying to bring the other down or at least keep public opinion on their side.

Which is why our deacon, this past weekend, reflected on St. John the Baptist.  He commented on how hard it must have been for John to decrease, while allowing Jesus to increase - even for someone as Holy as a Saint.

After all, John had many, many followers ... that came to him in the wilderness and praised him often.  

And yet, when our Savior arrived, John "transferred" quite seamlessly to Him ... and ended up dying alone.

It seems like such a sharp contrast to what is happening in the U.S. - and other parts of the world - and is something I probably take for granted without thinking about how hard it must have been for John.  

Please pray for peace in our world, and God Bless.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Random Musings from Christmas Season

As we celebrate the Epiphany, and close out the Christmas Season, there have been some random thoughts crossing my mind ...

We hear much about the shepherds and wise men visiting the baby Jesus.  But what about the relatives of Joseph in Bethlehem?  Did they spend time with the Holy Family?  Every day?  Did they clear space for them in their homes immediately?  Or did they think they were just crazy?  And how about the people of Bethlehem?  Surely they heard the commotion, and were told what was going on.  How many of them believed?  How many of them took the opportunity to gaze upon the Face of God?  And how many went about their merry way, oblivious to the Gift in their midst?

Speaking of the wise men ... and the star they followed ... I realized at Mass that today there are millions of stars that can lead to Jesus ... us.  The problem is some of us don't shine as brightly as we need to to get people to follow us.  

I wonder if anyone found it odd that one of the gifts from the wise men was myrrh.  Why give a child something that is more common for the dead?  (Although I am reminded of the saying that from the minute you are born you are constantly one step closer to death...)

What about Mary's family?  When did they receive news of Jesus' birth?  Did they make the journey to Bethlehem to visit Him?  

I imagined the birth of our Lord happening in today's day in age.  So many things would have been different.  For example, on the plus side, the world would have been able to watch His arrival because someone in Bethlehem would have captured it on their cell phone.  On the downside, social media probably would have made it very easy for Herod to find the Holy Family.  

I still can't believe how fortunate we are that God chose to come here in human form, and all of its constrictions, and suffer for us.  His love is incomprehensible. 

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas season.  God Bless you and your families.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

"8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."

Merry Christmas to you and your families!
May the Baby Jesus be present in your homes and your hearts, and may we all be good shepherds this coming year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Mary Christmas

I've been thinking a lot about Mary lately.  

Given the recent Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the ongoing Nativity story during Advent, it is hard not to.

Mostly I have been trying to "feel" what it must have been like for her the day the Angel Gabriel came to visit her.  

I'm trying to remove the numbness that hearing the same passage over and over brings with it.  

Trying to get past the words I have heard hundreds of times.  

Trying to forget that I know the answer in the back of the book.  

Mary was given a choice.  Say yes, or no, to a request that is almost beyond human comprehension.  

In her early teens.  

And by the way, saying "yes" to God's Will would bring with it the overwhelming threat of public humiliation and, likely, punishment by death.  (Side note ... was Mary the first person that every risked her life for Jesus?  Interesting.)

In any case, we have the luxury of knowing how the story ends.  Mary, at least to our knowledge, did not.  

She had to say yes to an idea that probably went against everything she had expected.  The Savior they had been waiting for was going to be born to a virgin?  In the poor area of Nazareth?  To her???

It was her faith against all that.  And her faith won.

May God grant all of us just a small portion of our Blessed Mother's faith ...

I hope you are all having a Blessed Advent.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

What to do post-election?

Well, we have finally reached the end of a troubling election cycle here in the U.S.  

Some people are happy, some are angry.

Most are confused and now waiting to see what this all means.

But there is one piece of advice we should follow no matter what platform we believe in - PRAY.  

PRAY for our country and for all countries.  And PRAY for the Salvation of the World.

Prayer for the Salvation of the World

Father, hear our prayers for the salvation of the world. 
Grant Mercy to all souls that turned away from You. 
Open their hearts and minds with Your light.
Gather Your children from the east and the west, from the north and the south.
Have mercy O God on those who do not know You. 
Bring them out of darkness into Your light. 
You are our saving God Who leads us in our salvation. Protect us from evil.
Bless and praise You O Lord, hear our prayers and answer us. You, our Savior, are the hope of all the ends of the Earth and the distant seas. 
May Your way be known upon Earth; among all nations Your salvation.
We put the world in Your hands; fill us with Your love. Grant us peace through Christ, our Lord.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Comprehending Marriage

In today's Gospel, some Sadducees give Jesus a hypothetical scenario where a woman marries seven brothers, one by one.  

They ask Him which of the seven will be the woman's husband at the time of the Resurrection.  

Jesus' answer, in essence, is that marriage is an earthly thing.  It is not "needed" in a Heaven without death - one where our relationship with God is paramount.  

This is hard to comprehend, especially for married folks.  But it is fair to say that we are just not capable of fully understanding these kinds of things yet.  

I equate it to when we were young children, and the thought of marrying someone was "gross".  We just didn't have the capacity at that time to appreciate how wonderful marriage could be, just like we do not now - at this point in our journey - have the capacity to fully appreciate what happiness in the Eternal Paradise is like. 

Hopefully some day we will, and it will be more beautiful and amazing than we ever thought possible.  

For now, we have Faith.

God Bless you.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Inspiration from St Paul and St JP2

It is easy to get discouraged these days.  

Between the poverty, suffering and endless bickering in society, it is not always easy to stay positive.

But the "stars" of this weekend give us hope.

Yesterday was the Feast Day of St. John Paul II (Oct 22) and some of his more famous quotes include:

Do not abandon yourself to despair.  We are the Easter people and Alleluia is our Song!
There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.
From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary we learn to love Christ her Son and the Son of God.

And in today's second reading, St. Paul tells us:

But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.

These positive and uplifting reminders are certainly welcome at times like these.  With them in mind, hopefully we can - like St. Paul - compete well, keep the faith and finish the race.

God Bless you.