Sts. Cyril & Methodius
These brothers by birth became brothers in mission. Cyril and Methodius were born to a Greek diplomat in the 800s. The two brothers served in local governmental posts before each withdrew to a monastery. Their lives changed when the political leadership in Eastern Europe — what is now Ukraine — requested priests who spoke the native Slavic languages. Cyril and Methodius had proven themselves as able administrators and holy men, so they were sent as missionaries. First, Cyril invented an alphabet. This became the foundation for what is now used today and is still called the Cyrillic alphabet! Next, the brothers translated the Gospels, the Psalms, and other liturgical books into the native language of the people. Their work spread across Eastern Europe. God indeed raises up saints for their times!
Today's Gospel is one of tension and contradiction. We enter the scene at the local synagogue. It is near the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry, and He has returned home to Nazareth for a short while. There, in the midst of the men who watched him grow up and who played with him as a boy in the dusty streets, Jesus proclaims that he is the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of Isaiah. The response is understandably mixed. "All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, 'Isn't this the son of Joseph?'"READ MORE
"He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up." Did you grow up in a small town? Whenever you see stories of tight-knit communities, a common refrain is that everybody knows everybody and that's very difficult to change. If you leave and return, people expect you to be and act a certain way, and it's strange for them if you do not. In today's Gospel, we see that Jesus was already moving "in the power of the Spirit and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He...was praised by all." His ministry has begun! News of his growing popularity must have proceeded him to Nazareth.READ MORE
Beloved family in Christ,
The Lord in his Divine Providence provided for you and me to be here in this New Year 2019. Every human person, every family, every corporation and organization have plans and set goals to fulfill for this new year.
As believers in Christ, we should have had our own plans, hope and dreams. Life continues moving ahead and with God’s help we should move forward to seek Christ within ourselves and in our neighbor. Christ is the Light of the World and came to set our lives free from slavery of sin to His wonderful life. His invitation continues being the same: “Come to me those who labor and I will give you rest”.READ MORE
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.READ MORE
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?READ MORE
"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.READ MORE