Today is my birthday! What a great day to be born. Growing up I was quite convinced that all the parties and fireworks of New Year's Eve were related to my birthday. Everybody celebrated my birthday. Fortunately my birthday was far enough from Christmas that I could expect a double dose of presents. Along with the New Year's Eve celebrations came the call for the New Year's resolutions. I've always tried to pick turning away from some bad habit during the coming year as well as try to develop a dream that stirred in my heart.
I don't mean to be sacriligous or anything, but I want to use an example from a TV show. It's not Modern Family - though
that is very popular right now. I want to talk about Blue Bloods. Have you seen it? It is one of my favorite shows. It is a Irish--American Catholic family in New York City. The father, Frank Reagan, is police commissioner, as his father, the grand dad was, Two sons, Danny and Jamie, are cops - one a detective and one a rookie. The daughter, Erin, is an Assistant District Attorney. So the stories are about crimes and police solving them, etc.
There was a song a few years ago, “You light up my life,” written as a romantic one-to-one love song. Like a lot of love songs, it’s also sing-able to our God. How well do we know Jesus as the Light revealing God to us, and as “the light of our life”? Jesus, you light up my life!
“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation. Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled since they were no more.” (Matthew 2: 18)
"When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed." (John 20: 6-8)
“When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." (Matthew 10: 19-20)
At Mass in the new wording for the Creed- Jesus -: ...by the Holy Spirit was INCARNATE of the Virgin Mary and became man.
This refers to the embodying of a deity or spirit.....specifically God taking on the body of a human being. Let's do a little exercise:
Pretend that you are God in heaven looking down on the earth with all its human beings, animals and nature. Filled with love for
all you see, you want to be WITH these humans....taking on their form.going through life as you created them to do.
Today's readings don't necessarily speak directly of the birthday of our savior Jesus Christ. Yet the readings point to the plan the our Lord has for us. Remember in Ephesians 3:20 we are told the God plan for us is better than anything we can think of for ourselves.
I wonder what it's like to be a mother. As a man, I can only stand back in awe of what a woman must feel, what she must think as she becomes aware that there is a human being alive and growing in her womb.
I hope in the mist of all the hustle and bustle, you have still been able to stop and think about the true meaning and the joy of the season. The king of kings would soon be born, and rather than be born in the glory and riches of a palace, he chose a stable.
"Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1: 42:45)
This is the month of hope. The month where we celebrate the birth of Jesus the world’s only hope. God used this poor young girl named Mary with all the characteristics that to people of her day would make her seem unusable to God. But to God this does not matter, for our God nothing is impossible.
Advent is a time to renew our hope and confidence in God’s faithfulness to the covenant he made with his people. In preparing the way for the Savior, we see the wondrous miracle of two barren couples who conceive and bear sons – Samson in the Old Testament and John the Baptist in the New Testament who are called by God to bring hope and deliverance at a time of spiritual darkness and difficulty for the people of God.
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him emmanuel, which means “God is with us”. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus." (Matthew 1: 23-25)
“Justice shall flourish in this time and fullness of peace for ever,” (Ps 72: 7)
This is “Happy Sunday,” the third one in Advent. Gaudete Sunday, in long-standing Latin tradition.
“Shout for joy, sing joyfully, be glad, exult whole-heartedly,” (Zephaniah 3:14)
"Like a fire there appeared the prophet Elijah
whose words were as a flaming furnace.
Their staff of bread he shattered,
in his zeal he reduced them to straits;
By the Lord's word he shut up the heavens
and three times brought down fire.
How awesome are you, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?" (Sirach 48:1-4)
When we “delight in the law of the LORD and meditate on his law day and night” (Ps 1:1-2)
As we walk with the Lord, the Holy Spirit will renew us. He’ll transform us to be more like Jesus was. This means leaving behind our old bad habits.
This is Wednesday, the 12th of December, the pre-Christmas season when Catholic calendars present a pregnant Mary to us, known under the title, Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Scripture from Revelation really fits this beautifully meaningful apparition of Mary to Juan Diego.
In a biblical context Let's look at ourselves in relation to sheep. We like to come together when under threat. Thats true. The Lord says that His sheep recognize His voice. That's in John chapter 10. We also have a compunction or desire to wander off. Hence why we need a shepherd. All this we see in the Bible.
There is so much controversy in the Gospel we read today from Luke Chapter 5. It is not so much the controversy of the parable of the healing of the paralytic I am speaking of. The controversy comes from within the minds of the scribes and the Pharisees. Or one could better say that this passage best portrays their internal debate. What, in their minds, are they attempting to figure out or clarify?
Luke is preparing us for the announcement of God coming among us as a human being through today's Gospel passage. He is preparing the stage for this great drama in salvation history.
As you probably already know, Mary's Immaculate Conception means she was preserved from original sin. Quite appropriate for the woman chosen to be the Mother of our God, don't you think?
"Son of David, have pity on us!" When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to him. Then he touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." (Matthew 9:27-29)