As much as we make plans and have our daily routines, very often we are asked to give our time and attention to someone who was “not on the schedule” that day. What energizes us In these situations is to see the people involved as opportunities to enrich and in that way being enriched ourselves. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. It is always good to be enriched by our family members. I am the oldest of four children, having two sisters and a brother who is the youngest. He is seventeen years younger than me. I used to come home from the seminary and pick him up and down when he was a little boy. Now he is bigger and stronger than I am. But I say he is my brother with great joy. At least a couple times a month I go out to Greenport to see him and have supper with him and his family. It is just good to spend time together. Seemingly we don’t do anything significant but we do. We simply enjoy spending time with each other. His business is putting in gravestones and making stairs. The closest I came to making stairs was a few times putting the screws in the holes he drilled in the back of a couple of sets of stairs so he could follow after with the screw gun to put them in. And I did mix the cement when we put the gravestone on my parents grave.READ MORE
What do you want for Christmas? We readily ask that of children who respond with enthusiasm. The older we get the less we are looking for gifts and the more we see the love that is behind them. For a gift to be a perfect gift it just has to come from the heart.
As we have been getting ready for Christmas the previous two Sundays we have been reminded by the prophets Jeremiah, Baruch, and John the Baptist that God has promised to eliminate all obstacles to His coming presence into our midst. The valleys will be filled in, the mountains leveled, and the crooked roads straightened. Our obstacles to God’s presence are not physical but the busyness, problems, and concerns of our daily lives. The key is to recognize that God did not come in Jesus to put a burden on us, to take away time and energy from our daily lives, but to enrich, guide, and walk with us in all we say and do every day. It is so important to take some time everyday to pray, to focus on Jesus’ presence in our lives and His presence in ours. We are still in the midst of the coronavirus and another strain of it now called the Omicron strain. Our lives have certainly been disrupted and challenged this past year and a half. Where is the light? Where is the hope we all need? The answer is what we are preparing to celebrate on Christmas Day and in reality what we need to celebrate and focus on every day of our lives - Jesus’ presence in our lives and our presence in His. God knows us much better than we know ourselves and has come to walk with us Himself in Jesus.READ MORE
Do you love Christmas traditions but don't know where they come from? Tune in for Dr. Michael Patrick Barber's Advent reflections called "The True Meaning of Christmas" and learn the meaning behind your favorite Christmas pastimes. To go deeper, be sure to get his accompanying book, The True Meaning of Chirstmas, available on the Catholic.Market.
One of the ways we come to see what those who have lived before us experienced is to read history. We read about different kinds of governments, advances in technology, and problems they faced and how they dealt with them. Other than the perfection of the Garden of Eden, which was short lived because of human sinfulness, there has never been a form of government or moral code that all people have come to see and embrace as THE way to live. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 3:1-6) we see St. Luke giving us the political environment into which Jesus and John the Baptist were born. Tiberius Caesar, Pontus Pilate, and Herod are names that are familiar to us because they were people who had a role in how Jesus was received. They were pagans and had no interest in changing their way of life or leading the people they ruled in a new direction. Jesus was not seen as a gift but sadly as a nuisance to be executed.READ MORE