Feast of the Holy Family • Year B

St. Paul challenges us towards this saying: “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.” This is peace as a task and not as a “leave me alone, leave me in peace” cry of frustration in our lives. Paul points out here, and many times in his letters which comprise so much of sacred Scripture, that peace is built, where we actively look to bringing down the walls of division and extend the hand of solidarity to raise up those that are on the margins of society. This is so needed in our present world, and it is possible where we allow Christ’s peace to “control our hearts,” rather than hand our hearts over to our fears and indifferences.

Nativity of the Lord • Year B

As a result, Christ is born in a barn: “there was no room for them in the inn.” These words comes to us as a simple statement of fact, but they are also prophetic words, and the crowded inn is a mighty symbol. How many of us here, like the inn of Bethlehem, have no room in our lives and in our hearts for the Lord of Life Himself? How many of us are keepers of an inn cluttered with ancient grudges and new hatreds? How man of us lead lives firmly settled on gluttony, lust, and sloth, and will abide no inconvenience to offer hospitality to the Christ?

The Nativity of the Lord

In the first reading for the Christmas Mass during the night, the prophet Isaiah proclaims: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.”

The Epiphany of the Lord

When we see a Nativity set we can immediately identify the key players: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds with their sheep as well as the obligatory cow oblivious to what is going on. We also encounter the three strangely over-dressed visitors who seem so out of place for such a humble spot. The song we sing calls them three kings yet that misses the mark.

Feast of the Holy Family – Year B

When was the last time someone promised you something that was never fulfilled? … Or how many times have you made promises that you never kept? It seems to me that the readings during these days speak to us about promises… but promises that have been fulfilled! 

The Nativity of Our Lord

“Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord.” The Church proclaims these words in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm for the Night Mass of Christmas. We hear these words each year and we are invited once again to ponder the mystery of God becoming one with us in Jesus. 

The Epiphany of the Lord

Over the years we reminisce about our childhood and the “magical” season of Christmas. We pestered our parents to tell us one-more-time the story of the Wise Men (Magi) coming from far distant lands in search of a king foretold by the stars. Many could not wait until their parents set-up the family crèche. Each day throughout Advent we would move the Wise Men a little closer to the cave where the baby Jesus would appear on Christmas day.

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

One of my fondest childhood memories is of my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike on the church parking lot. In retrospect, a paved venue was probably a poor choice, considering the number of times I came in sudden contact with the ground, and also given that this was well before the days of protective headwear. Still, it was a wonderful experience…

The Nativity of the Lord

Among my favorite Christmas stories is one that has little direct connection to Bethlehem or angels and shepherds, or carols or even Hallmark movies. Rather, it’s an episode from the television series “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Raymond, the favored son of the family, decides to give his parents the gift of a toaster for Christmas, inscribed with a message of love from his wife, his children and himself.

The Baptism of the Lord – Year C

In the study of behavioral analysis, there is a theory that positive reinforcement is an effective way to increase the probability of a particular desirable behavior to be repeated or continued. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the last day of the liturgical season of Christmas. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear of the tremendous and fascinating account of Jesus being baptized by John.