Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

01-20-2019Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

When you think of being Catholic, what do you think of? Perhaps you grew up with your only associations being fasting, nuns with rulers, and "Catholic guilt." Our faith can sometimes have the connotation of restriction and absence, not abundance. Who is God in your life? Is He the divine law-giver, the judge punishing the rule-breakers? These are certainly attributes of God. But the laws don't exist for themselves alone. They exist to help us love one another as God loves us. And this loving God is the author of abundance and joy.

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The Baptism of the Lord

01-13-2019Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

Think of what it's like to wait a long time. Can you imagine what it would be like to wait for centuries? No one person lives that long, of course. But for the Israelites, they had heard the stories from generation to generation. They had been conquered time and time again, and now "the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Christ." They had been waiting for a Messiah, one who did miraculous deeds and said profound things; someone aglow with the glory of God. We all know what it's like to hope and be disappointed. But what if your hopes were fulfilled?

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The Epiphany of the Lord

01-06-2019Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

"Behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying 'Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.'" How strange to journey so far for perhaps so little. Of course the magi go to the capitol city. Of course they entreat with King Herod. Of course this is where they expect newborn royalty to be. But where is the child? "In Bethlehem of Judea," the scribes say. And so the magi go on to what is yet another Christmas miracle.

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The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

12-30-2018Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

"After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers." As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, this Gospel exposes us to a strange tension. While this family is one we can look to for an example, they are not quite the same family unit as everyone else. There is an otherness to Jesus, something profound. And yet, perhaps on second thought, are our families so different? When Mary and Joseph encountered Jesus in the temple, "they were astonished."

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Fourth Sunday of Advent

12-23-2018Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

Here we are, mere days from Christmas, and we hear a Gospel anticipating the birth of another child. Mary has received word that her cousin Elizabeth is with child. Pregnant as she is, Mary "set out and traveled to the hill country in haste." She has recently received the greatest news of her life - that she is to be mother to the Messiah by the power of the Holy Spirit - but her concern is for her cousin in need. Through God's grace, Elizabeth turns it into an opportunity to honor the coming Christ. "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Yet Mary's example of selflessness should inspire us.

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Third Sunday of Advent

12-16-2018Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

In Christianity, we hear often about the "Good News." We might often associate it with Jesus' compassion to the poor, his healings and miracles, and the salvation he won for us. In today's Gospel, we read of John the Baptist. "Exhorting them in many other ways, he preached good news to the people." Yet as we examine the rest of the reading, we see examples of John's preaching. If you have two cloaks, give one away. Don't cheat others out of their money, extort, or lie. And, of course, the warning that the Messiah is on the move and "his winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." Merry Christmas?

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Second Sunday of Advent

12-09-2018Weekly Reflection©2018 Liturgical Publications, Inc.

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar...and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee...and Lysanias was tetrach of..." Did you need to pinch yourself awake during the first few lines of this Sunday's Gospel? John the Baptist received quite a prelude today as Luke described the religious and political leadership of the time period. Scripture is divinely inspired, and we believe that everything that made it into the Bible is there for a reason. These lines remind us of an important truth. The Christmas story isn't a fairy tale or nursery rhyme. It's not a parable we say to give meaning to the holiday. At Christmas, God's presence is made tangible in a precise moment in time. The birth of Christ is a historical event. As precursor to Jesus' preaching, the ministry of John the Baptist is also a historical event.

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