Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Truth and Life

"I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth."(1 John 2:18-21) In the birth of the Christ Child Truth has entered the World. In a certain sense one could say that in Christ Jesus, Truth has become flesh. Thus how can we say that we do not know the Truth? If we can come to adore the Baby Jesus away in a manger. If we recognize Jesus as the Son of God and the Son of Mary, our Savior. How can we say that we do not know the Truth? In becoming man, Truth has not only entered the world, but in becoming flesh has opened for us the very possibility of coming to know and live in the Truth. We cannot deny Jesus or His Merciful Love for He is the foundation of our lives. We have been called out of the darkness. In the birth of Jesus the Light has entered the world. That is to say that the Light of the Truth has penetrated the darkness of sin and death so that we no longer have to be bound to the lies that have enslaved us. All sin, all degradation, all abuse, all temptations, all addictions begin and end in a lie. The suffering caused in the aftermath of such violence is perpetuated by judgments based upon lies. Thus we are trapped in our lies and often left in darkness. The Baby Jesus born this day in Bethlehem pierces the darkness because He is the Truth, He is our Life. Just like the Shepherds and the Magi we are drawn to Him. The simple and the wise, the young and the old, we are drawn to the Truth and the Light that radiates from the manger and illumines the whole world. And more than the world, the Light and Truth of the Christ Child illumines our hearts, each and every on of them. Therefore we cannot deny that we know the Truth of our lives because our hearts have been illumined with the Light of Truth. We do know the Truth and we are called to live in Him this Christmas Day. We may struggle with the darkness in our live, but that is no reason to deny the Truth, and He who is our Life. The Lies that tempt us, the lies that we have lived, the lies that embarrass and shame us, the lies that remind us of our wounds, or our failings, or our sins, all these are now foreign and alien to us. In the Birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the Son of Mary, we are free, we can find Peace. We are children of the Light. We are called to live in the Truth of our Father's Loving Mercy, in the Truth of Jesus' Victory over sin and death begun this Glorious Night, the Night of our dear Savior's Birth.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Anna the Prophetess

"She never left the temple,but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. "(Lk 2:36-40) In order to be a prophetess, Anna had to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is she was filled with the same Holy Spirit that we have been given in our Baptism. On this Christmas Day it would be good if we could take some time to reflect on the example of this holy woman. After all we share the same Spirit. Although Anna lived 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity and is Eternal. Thus it is that the same Spirit that draws us to reflect upon the holy woman Anna. Anna was drawn to the Temple of the Lord in the midst of her suffering. She was a young women, married only seven years when she became a widow. Drawn to the Temple, to the presence of the Lord of Hosts, she found consolation, and purpose to her life. We are called to do the same, especially in our suffering. In particular when our lives are not turning out as we thought they would, or because we wish things were different. We can enter into the Eucharistic Presence of our Lord to find consolation and purpose. Like Anna we can dedicate our lives to the Lord, and rely upon Him for everything; taking comfort in the fact that the the Comforter Himself draws us continually into the Eucharistic Presence of our Savior. Then, as happened to Anna, we can enter deeper into our life of prayer, because we will follow the promptings of the Comforter, and not our own wants and desires. Thus we will be able to sacrifice and fast. Thus we will be able to grow in Faith, Hope, and Love, while embracing the Lord Jesus, even as we are being embraced by the Comforter. We will believe that our Redemption is at hand, and we will no longer live in fear. Like Anna we will give thanks to God and speak to people about Jesus who is the cause of all our Joy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Our internet service has been down and I had company in town; that along with normal parish duties have kept me from blogging. I promise to begin my reflections again Tuesday. Peace and Joy to you this Christmas Day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.

Monday, December 22, 2008

O Rex Gentium

O King of the Gentiles, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature fashioned from the dust.

Isaiah 9:7 His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 2:4And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

O Oriens

O Radiant Dawn, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
Sin and selfishness have led to the destruction of so many lives. Sins committed against us often paralyze us. Sins that we commit often enslave us. We are powerless before the violence that has been committed against our dignity as human persons; whether that violence is done against us or is suffered at our own hands. Although we survive the onslaught to our person, we never seem to be able to live in freedom again. Even as we turn away from our sins, even as we outwardly heal from our wounds and get on with our lives; the judgement against us stands as a constant reminder of our true misery. We feel worthless. We feel dirty. We feel guilty. We continually feel ashamed. We feel ugly. We feel as if we are unworthy of anything at all. Thus even in the midst of our daily lives, with friends, family, and work, we are alone in our misery, never sharing, never opening up, even in our most intimate relationships. Deep down we sit and wallow alone in darkness and in the shadow of death. Alone that is until the Radiant Dawn of the Christ Child shines upon us. He brings us healing, He brings us peace. The everlasting light is eternal and so cannot be denied. The Father's Love in the gift of His Son, the babe Jesus, cannot be denied. Light has come into the world. Mercy has been planted and taken root in the Incarnate Word. We no longer rely upon the Sun, for the Son of Justice is born to us in the little town of Bethlehem. But in our misery we fight this wonderful Truth. We claim that their is no excuse for us; we claim to be at fault. We are ugly. We are worthless, undeserving of such Joy or Peace. But the Son of Justice will not be denied. He has been born unto us; He is the light of the world. He scatters the darkness; He obliterates the shadow of death, because He is Humble, because He is Obedient even unto death, death on a Cross. He does not deal in excuses, nor does He allow the lies that have paralyzed us to stand before Him. Even as a babe away in a manger the Light of His Loving Mercy penetrates the very being of the world and every heart in it. He comes as a child to restore our dignity, to heal our wounds, and to strengthen us in holiness and in love. There is only one Truth, the Christ Child brings Mercy and Love. Light itself is Mercy and Love. This is the Father's judgment; He has decided that each of us is worthy of His Love and Mercy. The Son has confirmed the Father's decision for He has been made flesh and dwelt among us. The promptings of the Spirit guides the Church now as we prepare to celebrate that great day when Mercy was born to the Virgin Mary, and Light entered the World. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

O Clavis David

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
On the Holy Night of our dear Savior's birth, a blow to the power of sin and death was struck by the Sceptre of the King of Kings, and the Key to to life was undeniably inserted into human history. The Word made flesh was born of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the little town of Bethlehem. The power of sin and death would fight hard but the Child born to us has freed us from our sins and conquered death. We adore the Christ Child in the manger of Bethlehem. We adore you oh Christ and we bless you because by your Holy Cross you have Redeemed the world! Jesus has opened for us the way to eternal life. No man, no suffering, no abuse, no wound, no sin, no power, no fear, no worry, no anxiety, no lie can ever take us away from His Love and Mercy. We are free now to live and to love. We no longer sit in darkness and the shadow of death, for the Light has come into the world. Jesus meek and mild will now guide our feet in the way of Peace. We are no longer slaves or prisoners to all that has bound us in the past. A new day has dawned, the Key of David has opened our way and released us from our sin our guilt and our shame. The sceptre has struck it's blow! We are free! Come let us adore the babe of Bethlehem, Jesus whom we looked to save us. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Friday, December 19, 2008

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse's stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
Jesus is a descendant of King David. Jesse was Kind David's father. Jesus is the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. He fulfills the promise made to David that his descendant would reign forever upon his throne. The Son of God fulfills that promise of mercy to David; in His great mercy He goes beyond His promise ruling the whole world with His strong right arm. All people look to the Christ Child for mercy, for peace. He is the fount of mercy and peace. Many do not understand and many do not know, but Jesus is for whom they look. He is the Root that has sprang up from Jesse's stem to bring mercy and peace to the world. He is the vine, we are the branches; how blessed we are in our dear Savior's birth, that in His love He chose to share our lowly nature. How can we not fall silent before so great a gift. No matter our station in life, no matter our condition, the Christ Child is placed before us as a babe in order to plead for sinners in His lowly manger in Bethlehem. How could such an outpouring of mercy elicit anything but adoration and worship? How can we stand before Mercy Incarnate and refuse to embrace Him? How could we refuse His aid? He comes as a babe that we may not be afraid to embrace Him and cherish Him. The whole world cries out for Him. Our Father has heard the cry of the poor. He has given to us His Only Begotten Son; to reconcile us to Himself and to fulfill the promise He made to David. A promise of Mercy that endures forever! God is Good!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

O Adonai

O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
Jesus is Lord. Even as the Christ Child in Mary's arms He indeed is the Lord and Ruler of Israel and of all creation. In a humble stable the wise men, the 3 kings will come to pay Him homage. We will give Him homage as well when we celebrate the Holy Night of our dear Savior's birth. The throne of our Adonai was a Manger. The Manger prefigured the throne of the Holy Cross by which He redeemed the world. Our prayer, O Adonai, speaks of our desire that Jesus come and make His throne upon our lowly and wounded hearts. Jesus, the Son of God chose Moses. His choice of Moses transformed Moses life. His interaction with Moses illuminated Moses life so much so that he even glowed. How our hearts desperately hope for this same experience when we pray O Adonai. Our hope will be fulfilled. Our hearts will burn as brightly as the Bush that Moses saw. The Fire of the Christ Child's Love and Peace will burn in our hearts and as in the Burning Bush it will not consume us but will transform us and illumine our lives. Thus illumined like Moses we will follow the Law. In His tiny outstretched arm is our Redemption. As we prepare for Christmas we reach out to Him and call Him Adonai that He may take His rightful place in our hearts; that he may redeem us and teach us to live by the Law of Love, safe and secure in His Loving Mercy. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

O Sapientia

O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

Today we begin our immediate preparation for Christmas. In the final 7 days leading up to the Solemnity of Christmas, the Church honors Jesus with the O Antiphons during our evening prayer. O Sapientia/O Wisdom is the first antiphon tonight. Each antiphon recognizes Jesus as the fulfillment of the promise God made to our fathers to Abraham and his children forever. Jesus is the Word made Flesh. Jesus is the Word that comes forth from the mouth of God our Father; who so loved the world that He gave us His only Son to be our Savior. In His Mercy Our Father gives to us the Christ Child. Jesus is the Mercy of God. Jesus born of the Virgin Mary brings us Mercy and Peace. We ourselves, indeed no one is beyond His Mercy and Peace. For He is the gift of Our Father. The Mercy and Peace of Jesus brings order to our lives. Even as a babe in Blessed Mother's arm He is mighty. The sweetness of the Christ Child transforms the bitterness of the world. This is our God to whom we looked to save us. This is Wisdom from on high that guides our feet in the way of Peace. Rejoice and be glad for He is near. God is Good! His Mercy Endures Forever!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fear Not, I Will Help You (Is 41:13-20)

Our Lord speaks these words through the prophet Isaiah to the needy and afflicted. "Fear not, I will help you." Many times in our spiritual lives we are caught up in our own ways of thinking. We are constantly reflecting about ourselves and our lives, our worries and anxieties. I say reflecting because so many claim that they are actually praying when they act this way. In prayer we certainly do bring all our troubles to the Lord. However we are also called to listen to Him. Often we do not hear the words that our Lord speaks. "Fear not, I will help you." We rarely hear these words. More often than not we are upset with God because we want to know what we are supposed to do. But we do not listen. We want to act. We want to fix. We want to resolve. But we do not want to wait. We do not want to wait for the Lord to act, or to fix, or to finally resolve all our problems. Waiting is too uncomfortable for us. Waiting requires trust, and we have learned to only trust ourselves and how we see things. Waiting means that we have to acknowledge our helplessness. Waiting means that we have to acknowledge our need. Waiting means we have to endure our affliction. We do not want to wait. We do not want to listen to the Lord who desires to comfort us in all our affliction and provide for all our needs. Advent is a time of waiting. Advent is a time in which we acknowledge our need. Advent is a time in which we endure our afflictions with the sure and certain Hope that we do not need to fear for the Lord will come to help us. Advent is a time in which we acknowledge in faith that our Savior is not far off. We acknowledge that He indeed is very near; He hears our prayers and will come to save us. During Advent we take our eyes off our self centered reflection and look for the coming of our Lord who promises to save us. We are called to quiet that voice inside us that constantly wants action and resolution in order to listen to the Lord who speaks. "Fear not, I will help you."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take My Yoke (Mt11:28-30)

Jesus invites us to learn from Him. In the first reading He reveals that no one is equal to Him. He also reveals that He is mighty and powerful and that he knows each person by name. He knows what we need and He knows what we struggle with in our daily lives. He reveals that He never grows weary and that even though we often question Him about the things that are happening in our life, His knowledge is inscrutable. He tells us that He gives strength to the weak and to the strong He constantly renews their strength. He tells us in the first reading (Is 40:25-31)that those who hope in Him achieve great things and have no fear for He is with them. The invitation is given to us in this context. Jesus does not lay a heavy burden upon us. Instead He asks us if we want to share His. In sharing His burden we will learn from Him. What will we learn? Mercy and Love. Faith and Hope. We will learn to live Through Him, In Him, and With Him for we will share His yoke. Too often we act and live as if Jesus wants to lay a heavy burden upon us when we think we should be doing more or doing better. This is a lie. At those time when we are struggling we forget that we share Jesus' burden. That is the invitation. Our Lord reveals to us today that He will help us in all things, and at all times. He reveals that we are never alone. He reveals His Mercy and Love. During this season of Advent He wants to strengthen our faith and our hope. But all too often we listen to the lie that says He asks too much. The invitation is extended today. Will you take His yoke and learn from Him? Will you acknowledge that He is Gentle and Humble of Heart? Will you ask Him to make your heart like His?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sing to the Lord a New Song, for He has Done Marvelous Deeds(Ps98)

"Sing to the Lord a new Song, for He has Done Marvelous Deeds." The Marvelous Deed that the Church sings of today is the Immaculate Conception! The Virgin Mary is the Song. The joy of this day in especially enhanced in the Truth that the Virgin Mary has taught her children to sing. The song we sing is forever new for it comes from the Immaculate Heart of our Mother in praise of the Most Holy Trinity.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for He has looked with favor on His lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, He has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of His servant Israel for he has remembered His promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

2nd Sunday of Advent

Consolation and comfort is what God our Father wants for each of us today. It is clear that in the first reading that while God allows us to suffer the punishment we deserve, it serves a very clear purpose. That is that it brings us back to him that He may embrace us and protect us. This is so that we can live without fear, safe and secure in our Father’s arms.
St. Peter tells us in the second reading that our Father in Heaven is patient with us. He tells us that this is so even when we think that He is acting too slowly. St. Peter reminds us that while we await the Lord Jesus to come in Glory, we are to live holy and saintly lives.
This Sunday the Great Saint John the Baptist is presented to us for our reflection. He tells us to prepare a way for the Lord. As we enter deeper into the Season of Advent we need to take John the Baptist’s message and example seriously. John the Baptist called people to recognize the truth of their life. He reminded them that they had been living apart from God and that they needed to return to Him. They needed to prepare themselves to receive and live according to the grace that God gives them. Thus there is a need for conversion. As in the first reading, God is ready to console and comfort us but we must recognize our need first. Punishment is a consequence of sin but it is not the end of the story. There is always more with God. That more is God’s Loving Mercy which brings Comfort and Consolation. That is to say the Holy Spirit. You and I are called to open our hearts to this message of John the Baptist. To acknowledge our need for forgiveness by admitting that we have lived our lives apart from God. This is not done in fear of punishment but in the truth of God’s love. We need to live holy and saintly lives like St. Peter tells us. In this we must be patient and recognize that God is in charge. We are not called to be selfish in our lives building our own kingdoms because God acts too slowly. Instead we are called to place all our trust in the Lord. In this we must follow St. John the Baptists example. That is we must be humble. He is a great saint yet he tells the people that Jesus is greater. He knows who he is in God’s eyes and he acts accordingly. You and I are called to do the same. We are called to humbly acknowledge our need for the Lord, for His Mercy and Forgiveness. Then we are called to humbly acknowledge our need for the Lord to help us live holy lives. St. John the Baptist tells us that Jesus will give us the Holy Spirit. Therefore with the Holy Spirit who is our Advocate and Comforter let us follow St. John the Baptists message and example this Advent. Prepare the way of the Lord in humility. Acknowledge your need for forgiveness. Live holy Sacramental lives. Pray your Rosary and your other prayers. Come to Mass often and go to Confession. Let the Holy Spirit Console you and Comfort you and know that you are loved by Him.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trust in the Lord Forever (Is 26:1-6)

Forever! Always! At all times! TRUST IN THE LORD! Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end. Trust in Him Do Not Be Afraid. Isaiah lived in 722 B.C. That is 2722 years ago. Thus for nearly 3 thousand years God has been asking us to TRUST IN HIM! For all your life this is what God is asking of you. That is it. No more and no less. You cannot long for our Lord to come during this Holy Season of Advent, if you are worried, afraid, anxious or scared of what the future will bring. The future brings our Lord. He is the Mercy of God. He is True Peace. Forget your foolish worries and fears. Wait for the Lord with Joyful Hope. TRUST IN THE LORD FOREVER!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God Provides (Is 25: 6-10 + Mt 15: 29 37)

In the readings today God provides. In the first reading He provides a banquet for His chosen people. In the Gospel Jesus feeds the hungry crowd, His followers. In both readings God chooses to act based upon His Love. In His Love God provides for all people. This is clearly seen in the first reading. In the Gospel it is clearly seen that Jesus calls all people to himself and then provides for them. First their spiritual needs and then their physical needs are met by our Loving Savior. The same is true for us today. We have many needs, and during this Holy Season of Advent we recognize our deepest need that is our longing for God. Often during this hectic time of the year we get things turned around. That is to say that we become distracted by our physical needs and wants. The people in the Gospel were concerned with one thing only. That is they were focused on listening to the words that Jesus spoke. They did so because His Words are Spirit and Life. Then He provided everything else. We are called now to imitate them. To focus on the words that Jesus wants to speak to us today. We are called to admit that longing that is in our heart. To know that Jesus provides first for our spiritual needs and then will take care of all the rest. We must trust this truth especially during Advent; for to trust in this truth we must have great Hope. Advent is the season of hoping and longing for the fulfillment of God's promise. Like our Mother Mary we will be blessed if we believe that the promise given to us in Jesus will be fulfilled. Not only in a generic way but during Advent in a profound and personal way; then we can rejoice in the celebration of our Hopes fulfilment and rest in the fullness of Christ's Peace.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Jesus Rejoiced (Lk 10:21-24)

In the Holy Spirit giving glory to God the Father, Jesus rejoiced. Jesus reveals His Love, the Love of the Father and of the Holy Spirit to the childlike. This is His cause for Joy. The Most Holy Trinity Loves us. Jesus rejoices in revealing this Love. Jesus rejoices when He reveals this Love to a soul that is childlike. This is because the simple childlike soul is that which can receive and accept the Love of God. The childlike are not afraid to be loved. The childlike acknowledge that deep desire of their hearts, that is to know that they are loved. The desire to know that they are OK, and that they are in Truth lovable. The childlike filled then with love, love. One aspect of this Holy season of Advent is preparing to celebrate the Birth of the Christ Child. In preparing for this it is important to remember that even in His Infancy we are called to Imitate Christ. To be childlike. To admit our total dependence upon God. To admit this need to be loved. To accept the Love with which we are loved, and to love. Love changes everything. The childlike rejoice in Love. We would do well to be mindful of this as we prepare the way of the Lord. Return again to a childlike dependence upon God. Do not be afraid of your need. Then you will be filled with the Merciful Love of the Most Holy Trinity, and find Peace in God's Loving Mercy.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Just Give the Word (Mt 8:5-11)

The Centurion in the Gospel today does not really know what he is asking. When he tells Jesus to "just give the word and my servant will be cured " he is unaware that he is speaking to the Word made Flesh, the Son of God. Yet he believes in Jesus. This is why Jesus is astonished. The people of Israel awaited a Messiah, yet they did not put their trust in Jesus when He came. Unlike the Centurion who simply believed in Jesus even though he did not know the whole story. We have begun the Holy Season of Advent. This is our time of waiting. We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. We prepare for His second coming, and we celebrate His first coming. As we live in this time in between; as we live in the already and the not yet, we fall victim to the same spirit that had infected the people of Israel. In waiting so long for our heart's desire to be fulfilled, we often refuse to recognize Jesus who has come and remains in our midst. Our present struggles, desires, and doubts complicate our lives and thus complicate our faith. We do not have the simple faith of the Centurion. In fact we believe that such simple faith is foolish. We want to be secure in our faith, strong in our faith, rich in our faith, but not SIMPLE. Just give the Word a chance this Advent. Trust in His Merciful Love. You do not really need all the answers. Jesus has them. Be simple and let go of all your distractions. Be simple and wait in Joyful Hope knowing that the promise that Jesus has given you will be fulfilled. You will be healed of all your wounds and you will know His Love and His Peace.