Dear Parish Family,
Baby Jesus has come to you. He had you in mind when he created the world and when he made a promise to Abraham, Jacob, Moses and David. He was born for you and carried his cross for you. He prepared a way for you on the day of his resurrection and on the day of his ascension. He prepared a place for you on the day he entrusted the keys of the kingdom of heaven to Peter and the Apostles, and also on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of his Church. All of this from the beginning of time until today is for you. Jesus is born for you.
This is an important truth that can be easily lost. While Jesus surely came to save the whole human family, he also came for your own family. In our own human limitations, we often find ourselves anonymous in a large crowd, and we can get used to this kind of thinking. But, none of us is anonymous to God. He knows you intimately and completely as if you were the only family in the world. God’s attention is not distracted away from us by other people. He sees and knows and loves us for who we are, and he came to love us into the family that he intended from the beginning.
My prayer for your family this Christmas is that Jesus, who is born for you, will live in your home, talk with you, eat with you, work with you, and rest with you. I pray that you let him be born into your hearts without hesitation. I pray that he truly dwells in your home so that you may one day dwell in his home forever.
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent and few days from now we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Christ, the Nativity. The liturgy invites us to bow in reverence to that great event, worshipping God who was made flesh to bring us to glory. Yes, today's liturgy is all about God with us, the Emmanuel and this takes us to the moment of the celebration of God’s presence within the human family.
Nothing can be said about this more than the fact that the Emmanuel of Advent-Christmas, the God who is with us, witnesses our social life from within the community, so that God is not far away but is actually among us as we become part of each others lives. In all of these, Mary remains the center of attraction. We all get deeply captivated by what she was subjected to go through in order for God to achieve this and her courage to respond positively and with deep faith and trust in the same God that has designed everything for her.READ MORE
We remind ourselves again that Advent marks the four-week celebration before Christmas. We have also come to know that traditionally it is a season of penance and preparation before Christmas. The official Church liturgical color is purple, a symbol of penitence. As part of expressing our contrition, weddings used to be forbidden during this season – as also during Lent.
However the Third Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin word for "rejoice." The central message is comfort and joy (gaudete means rejoice), and the readings are always carefully selected to give reason for our rejoicing. Before on this day, everyone took a break from the penitential theme and pink vestments, altar cloths, and candles were allowed in the Church for a little celebration to establish the fact that God is about to fulfill his promise.READ MORE
It is Advent Season! In the next four weeks we look forward, waiting in hope. We try within these weeks to understand what actually to wait and hope for.
To get the meaning of this season correctly, we must ask these relevant and important questions: what are we preparing for? What are we looking or hoping for? Are we looking for a miracle? If we are waiting for Christ to be born, Christ was already born more than two thousand years ago. He is our Savior and our brother too. If we are waiting for the Holy Spirit to dwell among us, He is already in us but we do not recognize His presence and role in our lives. If we are waiting for the Church to be born, the Church is already in our midst. If we are waiting for the faith, God gives everything to us. What are we waiting for then?READ MORE
The lamb who was slain is worthy to receive strength and divinity, wisdom and power and honor: to him be glory and power forever and ever. Indeed Christ is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. Who was, who is and who is to come. We began the liturgical year with Him and today we end it with this special Feast of His: Christ the King. Next Sunday we begin a new one with the first Sunday of Advent.
Most of the feasts of the liturgical year celebrate EVENTS in the life of Christ. This feast however celebrates an IDEA: Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The book of Revelation 1: 5,6 revealed that He is ‘The Ruler of the Kings of the earth’ but then added that we too share in His Kingship for he has made us ‘ a line of kings, priests to serve His God and Father’. Yes, Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and today we celebrate that kingship.READ MORE
Last Sunday, our readings began this reflection about the after-life and urged us to entrust ourselves into God’s hands, for He is the God of the living. Today again the liturgy wants to call our attention to the fact that the end of all things will come and then there will be judgment. That this world, with its beauty will all come to an end. Some how the liturgy paints a frightening picture of this end, with statements like "nation shall rise against nation, plagues and famines, fearful omens and great signs, persecutions and trials" will all take place. Understanding these statements about the end time has distracted humanity all through history. Many sects and groups have arisen to claim to know the exact date of the Lord’s coming, and the failure of previous predictions never seems to discourage them from settling on another date for Armageddon. This continues to confuse and distract many Christians from the actual message about how to prepare for the Day of the Lord. But how should we understand and interpret the message of Jesus about the end of time?READ MORE
Last week the focus was on the evil of pride and the need for true humility which was exemplified by the Tax collector in the Temple. This week the readings continue almost on the same topic to show us another fruit of humility produced by a single action of overcoming pride by another Tax collector, who encountered Jesus the Christ.
Zacchaeus was a rich man that had everything he needed materially in life. According to some commentators he had own all the 4Ps, Power, Pleasure, Pride and even Problems but one thing was lacking. He was not happy. He is lonely because nobody would like to befriend him. He chooses the way that makes him an outcast. Everyone hated tax collectors. His greatest joy was the news making the rounds that Jesus welcomes tax collectors and sinners. Then he want to see Jesus.READ MORE