The Good News of the Holy Family

Feast of the Holy Family

I Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28

I John 3: 1-2, 1-24

Luke 2: 41-52

Today we celebrate the Feast Day of the Holy Family and there is so much “Good News” in our readings. The Church in her great wisdom and glory, wants to remind us that we are in the “Christmas Season” it is still a joyous season, and the first story they give us sort of takes that joy, and pops it like a big balloon. We are still invited to the “Good News” of the Holy Family, by Pope Francis, who invites us to remember that we are number three, behind God, others, and then ourselves. The other good news, that makes this feast day so special, is I am going to be a grandfather! That news changing everything for me, as now I get a redo on some things. There goes the fishing trips, the hunting trip, it is all going to be seeing that grandchild.

The really “Good News” about this feast day is that it is so real, so easy to relate to it. We celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family, and it is not them in prayer, or doing some great service project, but Jesus being left behind and Mary & Joseph, once they realize he has been left behind go out of their minds searching for Jesus. Many a parent knows the feeling of missing our children, hopefully not for three days but for three minutes. One time I was at Great America with my daughter Meggin, and she was about three. She went down this big slide, and I was waiting for her at the other side which I thought she would come out. However, there were two ways of coming down the slide, and I was in terror searching for her, and then she comes walking up with a big smile on her face.

The “Good News” of the Holy Family is they teach us to be attentive to the unknown and the un-understood things that happen in family life, because it is in those things that God is calling us to a new understanding. Our kids, are not just our own, they belong to God. Like Hannah in our first reading, we need to dedicate our kids and our grand kids to God and know that he will look out for them. And finally, to know, to do what Mary does, “she holds, all these things in her heart.” She did not understand it all at that time. It was too much. She held these things in her heart and reflected on it.

The “Good News” of the Holy family is you do not need to try to be like them, because you are already like them. You inspire me to be what I am called to be. I read a great quote, by Elizabeth Stone, “To have children, is to make the decision to have your heart go walking around outside of your body.” This is what God decided to do by creating all of us!

In this Eucharist, may we be given the strength and the grace to try once again to strive to be the holy family of God.

 

Word made flesh

 

11:00am Mass Christmas Day

December 25th 2015

Isaiah 52:7-10

Hebrews 1:1-6

John 1:1-18

I can vividly remember in the days leading up to Christmas that my mother telling each of not to go looking in her bedroom. All of us knew that there were some presents in there and that Santa would be bringing more, but that only added to the anticipation and the excitement of what was to come. On Christmas morning all five of us kids would spring from our beds and run into the living room to see all the presents that were all around the tree.

Well that anticipation, that excitement was the same thing that was happening in the people in the time of Jesus. They were waiting with great anticipation and excitement for the coming of the Messiah. That the Word would become flesh. Can you imagine the excitement on the faces of Joseph and Mary as they cast their eyes for the first time of Jesus as he was born in that stable on Christmas Eve night?

The Word becomes flesh in all of us! To help us in the coming year to remind us to keep the Word alive in our flesh Pope Francis has invited us to participate in a Year of Mercy. We are to step up our efforts in being humble and showing people mercy. In this Year of Mercy we look to Christ, and know of his forgiveness to us, and in turn to be like him and be merciful to others.

Look at our relationships, we may be loving and kind right now but eventually someday there is going to be conflict in our relationships. It is knowing how to resolve those differences that will really help promote mercy and forgiveness. If we are trying to fix someone or change someone, we are only going to be frustrated and maybe even angry. In this Year of Mercy, it is looking past fixing someone, and looking at why do they do what they do? Is it because of a weakness deep within them? Patience only comes after understanding and wisdom.

My friends in Christ, it is good that we are here to make this the best Christmas ever. Christmas is about family time, but it can be hard work! It is great to receive gifts and to give gifts, but all the gifts that will be exchanged, they will all fade away one day, but the gift of mercy and forgiveness will last forever.

We gather in this holy Eucharist to know that the word becomes flesh in us. May we live this out being humble and full of mercy.

 

The gift of this night

hristmas Eve

December 24th 2015

Isaiah 9:1-6

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-20

 

With arms raised up! We thank you Jesus, we praise you Jesus for it is you that we have waited for in this Advent Season and have been preparing our hearts for this night. You have called each of us to be here tonight, and we give you glory and praise. We gather this night to make this the greatest Christmas ever! Put hands down. Now is there anyone else who here tonight that wants to make this the greatest Christmas ever?

To make this the greatest Christmas ever we need to believe more fully that God has given us his only son, as a small child to be one with us. We are part of God’s great plan to bring his salvation to the whole world. To make this the greatest Christmas ever we need to see each other in the image and likeness of God. It may be easy with the ones we love, but can we do the same with those we struggle to love. It is all about humbling ourselves before others. To help us do that all we have to do is look at our gospel for tonight and see that many people before us struggled to see the gift of God in front of them.

To make this the greatest Christmas ever, we can begin with Mary. She humbles herself before God and accepts his invitation by an angel to be the mother of God. It will demand a lot from her as one-day she will watch her son die on the cross. Joseph humbles himself because he had a plan to divorce Mary quietly when he got the news that she was pregnant before they were married. Joseph puts aside his plan, and listens to the angel, and takes Mary into his home and loves her and shows her mercy. The shepherds are all about being humble because they were some of the lowest people in society. They humble themselves and give the new born king glory and praise. Finally, we only need to look to Jesus Christ the king of the universe, yet he is not born in a palace but in a stable full of animals. Right from the beginning there is something different, as the whole story is about being people who humble themselves in the name of Jesus Christ.

To make this the greatest Christmas ever Pope Francis has invite us to participate in a Year of Mercy. We are to step up our efforts in being humble and showing people mercy. In this Year of Mercy we look to Christ, and know of his forgiveness to us, and in turn to be like him and be merciful to others.

To make this the greatest Christmas ever, look at our relationships, we may be loving and kind right now but eventually someday there is going to be conflict in our relationships. It is knowing how to resolve those differences that will really help promote mercy and forgiveness. If we are trying to fix someone or change someone, we are only going to be frustrated and maybe even angry. In this Year of Mercy, it is looking past fixing someone, and looking at why do they do what they do? Is it because of a weakness deep within them? Patience only comes after understanding and wisdom.

My friends in Christ, it is good that we are here to make this the greatest Christmas ever. Christmas is about family time, but all that family time can be hard work! It is great to receive gifts and to give gifts, but all the gifts that will be exchanged, they will all fade away one day, but the gift of mercy and forgiveness will last forever.

We gather in this holy Eucharist to know the gift of a baby born onto us, to be humble and full of mercy.

 

Be Transformed

Wednesday December 23  

Of Advent

Malachi 3: 1-4, 23-24

Luke1: 57-66

 

In a few hours, this place will be transformed into something beautiful with all the Christmas trimmings. The Season of Advent has for four weeks been trying to set our hearts aflame with the love of God as we have actively waited for the new-born king to be born. Our readings are about keeping things alive in our hearts, and transforming us.

In our first reading the prophet Malachi is talking about this big change as he says, “I am sending a messenger, and he is coming like a refiner’s fire, he will sit refining and purifying us like gold and silver. He will turn a father’s heart back to his children and the hearts of his children back to a father.”

In our Gospel, something new and unexpected is happening as Elizabeth and Zechariah are about to have their baby boy circumcised. The relatives are ready to name him after his father Zechariah, but Elizabeth corrects them and says, “No, he will be called John.” But the relatives protest, saying, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they turn and ask Zechariah, who has been mute since the birth of John was announced to him. Zechariah writes on a tablet, “John is his name.” Immediately Zechariah gains his speech and praises God. Something completely new is happening as the people respond, “What kind of child will this child be?”

As Christmas draws near may we welcome this new-born king to transform our hearts so we will know that he is with us, to fill our heart with hope and with joy.

 

It is all about God’s goodness

Tuesday December 22  

Of Advent

I Samuel 1:24-28

Luke 1:46-56

 

Our readings today are all about the glory of God. Can we say the same as Mary?  

Yes, Father, my soul proclaims your greatness, and my spirit rejoices in you! You are good and kind, loving and compassionate, toward me. You know who I am, and you understand my weakness. You delight in how you created me, and you never cease to teach me how to live the life you have created me for. Daily you come to meet me with mercy and strength. Daily you supply what I lack and help me when my own ideas and ability are not enough.

Father, you count me among those in every generation on whom you have mercy! You forgive me when I cave in (again) to temptation—every time! You meet my repentance with your pardon, and you surround me anew with your love, compassion, and tender mercy. I rejoice today because you are slow to anger, and you never hold a grudge. You always show me mercy, even when I don’t deserve it. I am amazed because you delight in me and show me the kind and gentle sympathy of a father for his child.

You are great, Father, and you continually draw me up into your greatness! When fear stops me, you meet me with peace, wisdom, and direction. The strength of your arm holds me, lifts me up, and gently moves me forward at a pace that allows me to breathe again. When I am feeling tired and weary, you support me and fill me with your strength. You show me where to find rest in the midst of all my busyness. You protect me from discouragement, disappointment, and defeat.

Thank you, Father, for being ready to fill me with your presence every day! Your promises give me hope, even when the circumstances of my life speak the worst. You give me the reassurance that I am loved and precious in your sight, even when I feel frustrated by my weaknesses and overwhelmed by temptation. You convince me that I can know joy and peace if I but come to you in prayer every day.

Father, how good you are! I try to be faithful to you, and you increase my faithfulness. I come to you hungry for your grace, and you fill me. I pour out my heart to you, and you pour out your love on me.

“My soul proclaims your greatness, Father, and my spirit rejoices in you!”

(Taken from “The Word Among Us” Tuesday, December 22, 2015)

Lord, we thank you for this Advent season that has taught us many things. We praise you for being our Savior, and we give you glory for leaving us this Eucharist. We, along with Hannah and Mary, will proclaim the glory of God!

 

Every moment is a blessing

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Micah 5:1-4

Hebrews 10:5-10

Luke 1:39-45

By a quick show of hands who are the people who are exhausted, running on fumes and still have plenty to do? Isn’t that a great feeling? We are the CEO’S of exhaustion. It is ok, if you were too embarrassed to raise your hands, your face has already told that are tired. In all the chaos of our lives, in all the commotion and unmet expectations, can we know of our blessings and to be a blessing to others? Our readings give us a method to follow to see the things in our lives as blessings.

Blessings come when the unexpected happens, when we are not ready. Both Mary and Elizabeth could have said, “I am not ready, for this pregnancy. It is not a blessing but will only cause me more problems!” Gratefully, both Mary and Elizabeth saw their pregnancies as a blessing. I am never mentally ready, for the unexpected when it comes my way! Each day, I have a plan. The blessing comes when we are spiritual ready, by being a person of prayer.

Blessings come when we come to know that God enters the most broken situations of our lives. Mary the mother of Jesus, was unmarried, and to find out she was pregnant without a husband would have meant she would be chastised out of her community, and possible stoned to death. Elizabeth was in her later stages of life; a pregnancy at her age would mean great hardship. Last week, I shared with you my hardship with a family member. That encounter turned out great, but I will have many more years of being reminded that he is a blessing. The blessing comes in our life when we can see through the messiness of our lives and discover God sitting right there in the middle of everything.

The finally step, which may be the hardest is to see the present moment as a blessing and to know that God is alive and well in our imperfect world. It is ok, to look to the past and remember all the good times, but not to look to the past and think that will be all the good times I will have. Elizabeth could have done this. The other challenge is to look to the future, and see everything as perfect. Mary could have done this.

The challenge for us is to see the hand of God working in our life and to acknowledge our blessings. We are to have ears to hear, and eyes to see and hearts to leap for joy, because of our blessings. All of this is hard work, but we have the Eucharist is our blessing of God’s presence to us right now. May we live in God’s blessings.

What are your plans for Christmas?

 

Friday, December 18th  

Of Advent

Jeremiah 23: 5-8

Matthew 1:18- 25

Last All School Mass before Christmas Break

Who has plans for Christmas break? What are your plans?

In our gospel, Joseph made some plans. What were his plans?

Answer – Joseph made plans to divorce Mary quietly, he did not want to expose her to shame.

Then we heard about God’s plan. What is God’s plan?

Answer – God tells Joseph to not be afraid to take Mary into his home as his wife.

Now, Joseph has a decision to make. He can follow his plan to divorce Mary or to take her into his home as his wife. What does Joseph do?

Answer – Joseph changes his plans and follows God’s plan.

My friends in Christ we are going to make many plans over our Christmas break, and we are going to have so much fun. But all of us need to be open to God’s plan when he speaks to us, and be willing to change our plans. God’s plan is always drawing us to holiness and faithfulness.

The Eucharist is offered to us to follow God’s plan for us in our life and to act on it.