27 Nov

Isaiah ushers us into a season of hope.

Dear Parishioners,

I hope you like the Prophet Isaiah from the Old Testament because we're going to get a healthy dose of him in our first readings throughout the Sundays of Advent.

Advent is a time of preparation. We prepare our hearts for Christ to come alive more fully in us. Christ is already in us. He was in us at the moment of our Baptism and is always with us. And when we receive the Eucharist he is really, really in us. But he needs to become more and more a part of us. That is one of the “objectives” of Advent.

The more our Lord is alive in us and the more we are conformed to him, the better off we are. It's a joyful hope, thus, we experience during Advent. We are readying to become more like Christ, and that will be good for us.

20 Nov

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Dear Parishioners,

Jesus Christ has many appellations. He is a son, a brother, a friend, a Messiah, a Lord, a Son of Man, and many others. He is also a King. It's this title or feature of Jesus we celebrate today, The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. This feast is a reminder to us that Jesus is in control of everything. Men, women, plants, animals, the stars, and planets are all under Christ's guidance. The section from Paul's letter to the Colossians in our second reading today emphasizes this point (cf. Col 1:12-20). Christ commands and everything obeys. Or, at least it should. And we should especially. Because Jesus is a good King. He knows what's best for us and if we follow his commands we will never be let down. I believe that's why we sing in our psalm today, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!” (Ps 122:1).

It's fitting that often within this final week of Ordinary Time (next Sunday is Advent) falls Thanksgiving. While we're musing on Christ the King, we're also giving thanks for the blessings of our life and of our nation. I don't think Jesus would want it any other way. It's good to be grateful. It's good to spend time with family and friends. It's good to eat good food. Christ our King is happy we take a day to do all these things and be filled with a spirit of gratitude. I know Abraham Lincoln created this holiday in 1863, but I have a hunch Christ had a hand in bringing this about. Remember, “all things were created through him” (Col 1:16).

13 Nov

Prized Possessions?

Dear Parishioners,

As nice as our houses, cars, clothes, and even parish are, they are simply objects and ultimately will return to the dust from which they came. Our most prized “possessions” are each other. People—not objects—are what this life is all about.

I think Christ acknowledged this. In the opening of our Gospel, the people speak of how nice the temple is, only to be dismissed by Jesus. “While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.’” (Lk 21:5).

07 Nov

Are you afraid?

Dear Parishioners,

As we creep closer to the close of our liturgical season, which is at the end of November prior to the First Sunday of Advent, the Church focuses us on the afterlife. The three readings this Sunday are particularly poignant in regard to death. In the Book of Maccabees the seven brothers are tortured and speak of their desire to be with God rather than betray him. "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by him," says one of the brothers (2 Mc 7:14). We hear then in the psalm: "Lord, when your glory appears my joy will be full" (Ps 17:15). The psalmist is indicating that in heaven we will want for nothing and will experience pure bliss. Our 'joy will be full.' St. Paul prays that "we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people" (2 Thes 2:16-3:5) and finally, of course, we hear in the Gospel our Lord address the eternal state of the woman who had been married seven times, in response to the Sadducees. "Those who are deemed worthy to attain to the coming age and to the resurrection of the dead, " says Jesus, "neither marry nor are given in marriage. They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are children of God because they are the ones who will rise" (Lk 20:27-38).