There are certain passages or letters that I love toread. The first reading for Mass today, on the Feast ofthe Holy Family, is one of those passages that fills mewith joy and gratitude. In this excerpt from the book ofSirach (3:2-6, 12-14), I am inspired and elated to readthese words: “My son, take care of your father when he isold; grieve him not as long as he lives.” I had thewonderful opportunity to help care for my father in thelast months of his life as he was on hospice care athome. I would go home for an overnight so I could get upearly and help my father with his medicine to give mymother help. I helped him with the very basic tasks of gettingdressed and cutting his toenails. He would tell me to getthe wire cutters from his tools for that job because histoenails were very thick. The roles of my childhood werereversed as I would take him for rides for a change ofscenery. As a child, we would take a ride on Sundays onthe North Fork. The last picture of my parents andsiblings was the Christmas before he died. It is so goodto see the joy in his face because of our presencetogether as a family.READ MORE
This bulletin will serve as both our December 20th bulletin and our Christmas bulletin. As I write this, Christmas is just around the corner. Are you ready? Our ultimate preparation to truly celebrate Christmas is spiritual. All the lights, decorations, presents, and cards proclaim the joy that God has come among us. It is our day to say thank you for the gift of Jesus as the Church and as individuals. Our thanksgiving flows from the fact that Jesus is the source of all that is good. Year after year we buy gifts for those we love which express our love for them. In the end, it is not the material gift or its cost, but the love which it symbolizes. As my mother used to say, “Don’t buy me any gifts for Christmas, just come home.” Of course, we bought her gifts, but her real joy was the gift of our presence and ours was hers.READ MORE
How do you respond when someone asks you, “Who are you?” It really depends on who is asking that question and why it is being asked. We have our common characteristics and makeup as human beings and at the same time, each of us is unique. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 1:6-8, 19-28) the religious leaders of the time of John the Baptist send a group to ask him who He is. They see many people going to be “baptized” by him and wonder who he is. Ironically when they ask John the Baptist who he is he answers by telling them who he is not - he tells them he, not the Christ, not Elijah, not the Prophet. John the Baptist makes it clear that he is not the one they are looking for, but he does point the way to that person, a person so powerful and good that he is “not worthy to untie his sandal strap.” The gospel says that John the Baptist “was not the light but came to testify to the light.”READ MORE
As I write the message the wind is howling outsideand there are reports of electrical outages and closedroads. The Smithtown app on my iPhone reports theproblems so we can either stay where we are or take amore circuitous route to where we have to be. Detoursare part of life at times. The key is not to lose our focusor be distracted from what is really important.
The first reading at Mass today (Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11)calls us to “prepare the way of the Lord.” There aremany distractions that can cause us to lose ourawareness of what is really important in our lives,especially as far as our faith is concerned. In the firstreading, Isaiah urges us to look at where we are in ourlives and how God fits into the picture. We are beinginundated with calls to shop online or in person. We donot want the restrictions we face with the coronavirus tolessen our preparations for and celebration ofChristmas. We can be creative when we are faced withchallenges. The season of Advent is our family gift asthe Church to become more and more aware of howGod reaches out to us. As much as we want to beenriched by the joy that Christmas showers upon usas people of faith, God wants to make His promised,loving presence in Jesus clear and joyful.READ MORE