Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Advent. Show all posts

7 Jan 2018

"Do Not be Afraid"

4th Sunday of Advent, 2017

By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas December 24, 2017

Good! Now try to imagine yourself describing the scene in which the Angel Gabriel seeks and speaks to Mary as one that could be played out spectacularly on film or a TV program, it would begin with the panoramic vision or an overall view of the world that solemnly zooms in and spotlights in one tiny little place. We could imagine the overview from the film score to the mission behind Google Earth....

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21 Dec 2017

'Both Son of God and Son of Man together had one name.' Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent and Christmas



The Annunciation, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV, CatholicEd)

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

The Annunciation, Gerard David [Web Gallery of Art]

The Incarnation by St John of the Cross
Then He summoned an archangel,
Saint Gabriel: and when he came,
Sent him forth to find a maiden,
Mary was her name.
Only through her consenting love
Could the mystery be preferred
That the Trinity in human
Flesh might clothe the Word.
Though the three Persons worked the wonder
It only happened to the One.
So was the Word made incarnation
In Mary's womb, a son.
So He who only had a Father
Now had a Mother undefiled,
Though not as ordinary maids
Had she conceived the Child.
By Mary, and with her own flesh
He was clothed in His own frame:
Both Son of God and Son of Man
Together had one name.
[Translation by Roy Campbell]

In both paintings above Mary has the word of God, the Hebrew Bible, what we Christians call the Old Testament, open in front of her. And when she says, let it be with me according to your word, she is accepting the Word. The opening words of St John's Gospel, read at the Mass During the Day on Christmas Day and read at the end of every Mass in the Extraordinary Form, tells us who the Word is: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Further on, in Verse 14, St John writes those magnificent words that are at the centre of our faith: And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes what St John of the Cross said about this: In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.


The Annunciation in an Initial R -Fra Angelico [Web Gallery of Art]
Continue here.

17 Dec 2017

Rejoicing Anyway



If I thought my faith depended on feeling cheerful, I'd be worried.If I thought my faith depended on feeling cheerful, I'd be worried.

Since I'm a Catholic, I think faith is willingly and consciously embracing "the whole truth that God has revealed." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 142-150)

Faith is easier when my emotions are in sync with my reason. So is acting as if what I believe matters. Emotions can tell me that something needs attention, but "...conscience is a law of the mind...." (Catechism, 1777-1782)

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

14 Dec 2017

'Strange blessings never in Paradise.' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B


St John the Baptist, Donatello [Web Gallery of Art]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 1:6-8, 19-28 (NRSV, Catholic Ed.)

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said,
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord”’,
as the prophet Isaiah said.Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

Mary, Queen of Heaven-Master of the Legend of St Lucy [Web Gallery of Art]
In the Philippines the Misas de Gallo, also known as Simbang Gabi or Aguinaldo Masses, the novena of pre-dawn Masses leading up to Christmas, will begin on Saturday the 16th. For the last 15 years I have celebrated these in the chapel of St Joseph, Espinos Village, Bacolod City. But this year, as I am now based in Ireland, I won't have to get up at 3:30am in order to start Mass at 4:30am. These are votive Masses in honour of our Blessed Mother and in thanksgiving for the gift of our faith. The Spanish word 'Aguinaldo' means 'gift' and in this context refers to the gift of faith.
Continue here.

12 Dec 2017

God helps those who.... (an advent reflection)

Recently, I experienced a situation on the interstate in which I really had to reach for my big girl jeans.

via GIPHY
 I was stuck in traffic. It was standstill and a tractor trailer had flipped, blocking the entire interstate. On a curve, and on a hill. Cars were creeping slower than Christmas, and it. was. terrible.
We waited for 30 minutes (at min), we had a full car as I was on the way home from school pick-up, and I believe everyone in the car had to use the restroom except those wearing diapers. I was about to sprout some real tears.
Read it here

11 Dec 2017

Advent: A Time for Healing and Forgiveness



Most people think of Advent as the time for preparation for the celebration of the incarnation of Christ; when Jesus entered humanity. Advent is just that, but it is also a time for healing and forgiveness, as we see in today’s Gospel from Luke 5:17-26, In this Gospel reading, we learn of the power and authority of Jesus to forgive sins. We hear about the paralyzed man lowered from the roof into the place where Jesus was preaching. Jesus not only forgives the man of his sins, but because of the confidence in God, expressed by his friends, Jesus also heals the man of his paralysis.

What sin may be paralyzing you; preventing you from embracing the joy and peace of the Christmas season? Now is the time to seek...Read more... 

6 Dec 2017

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.' Sunday Reflections, 2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B



St John the Baptist, El Greco [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings, (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland,)
Gospel Mark 1:1-8 (NRSV, Anglicised CatholicEdition)

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight”’.
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’

Old Road to Auvers, Norbert Goeneutte [Web Gallery of Art]

Charles Kuralt was a reporter with CBS TV in the USA whose On the Roadstories were a regular part of the Evening News for 25 years. These were offbeat stories about real persons and were often uplifting. I remember one in particular from about 1970 when I, then a young priest, was studying in the USA. It featured an elderly man in a small town in one of the Midwestern states. His town was about 10 kms from the next town but in order to go from one to the other you had to travel 20 or 30 kms. The authorities in both towns were unwilling to build a road to connect them.
So this man started to build a road himself, using logs as a foundation, as I recall.

Continue here.

3 Dec 2017

Advent: Our Long Watch

'Tis the season for frantic shopping, eye-popping light shows in suburban front yards, and Christmas television specials.

It's also the start of Advent.

This is a season when we look back at ancient hopes for a Messiah, and our Lord's first arrival. And look ahead to when Jesus will be back....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

29 Nov 2017

'If this is the end, then I'm ready for it.' Sunday Reflections, 1st Sunday of Advent, Year B


Young Jew as Christ, Rembrandt [Web Gallery of Art]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel Mark 13:33-37 (NRSV,CatholicEd .)

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.’

Liam Whelan (1 April 1935 - 5 February 1958)
If this is the end, then I'm ready for it.
These were the last words of Liam Whelan who died in a plane crash at Munich Airport on 6 February 1958 along with other members of the Manchester United football (soccer) team as they were returning from a match in Belgrade. About seven years ago I learned from a friend named Brendan whom I have known for more than 50 years that, when they were both aged 14 or so, Liam rescued him when he got into difficulties in a swimming pool in their area. And last year I discovered that another friend, who was a classmate of mine for five years in secondary school and for two years in the seminary, also named Liam, that this talented young footballer had been a neighbour of his and that even when he had achieved fame as a professional footballer he would still play knockabout football on the street with the local boys whenever he would come home.
Continue here.
Hello Friend,



Vlogging on simplicity. Simplicity in life is a precious commodity. Not to be ignored. Especially during the Advent Season. All the Christmas prep and such can have us coming going. In mind, body and spirit.

I learned through my hardships/disabilities and such. To slow it down. Not easy, but I can tried.

View it here on how you can slow down. Through Jesus yes!!! click here 



Time to Get Ready, An Advent, Christmas Reader to Wake Your Soul – Book Review


As we bravely embark on completing all the “tasks” needed to make Christmas merry, we sometimes fail to forget the real reason for the Christmas season. You purchase gifts for everyone on your list. Let me share with you a gift that you will want to purchase for yourself, today! Time to Get Ready, An Advent, Christmas Reader to Wake Your Soul, by Mark A. Villano is a treasure that you will cherish for years to come! Amid the holiday hustle and bustle, Villano gives us a daily retreat that takes only two to three minutes to read each day’s offering. It will spark the imagination and provide food for spiritual thought. Each day’s offering is filled with golden nuggets, helping us to make Advent more spiritual; less commercial.

By interspersing Scripture with his own reflections on the biblical passages, Villano offers insight and encouragement. One of my favorite “golden nuggets” was:

When we come to see how far God will go to save us, when we come to know how God sees us, how much God wants our safety and healing, we can face anything (p.23).
 
That awareness of God’s interest in each of us, should give us comfort; knowledge that we are loved by God, and strength to carry on. This book... Read more... 

18 Dec 2016

Gabriel, Joseph, and Mary



Monday's Gospel reading, Luke 1:26-38, is a repeat from December 8.

It starts with....

...A little earlier in that chapter we get an account of Gabriel's interview with Zachariah: Luke 1:10-20. That's when Gabriel personally delivers God's response to Zachariah's prayer — and Zachariah demands proof.

Zachariah got proof, all right. He couldn't talk for for months. Not until he agreed with his wife about his son's name: in writing.

Elizabeth said the boy's name was John, the same name Gabriel had specified....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

17 Dec 2016

'St Joseph' in Manila. Sunday Reflections, 4th Sunday of Advent, Year A


The Dream of St Joseph, Georges de la Tour 

Gospel Matthew 3:1-12 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed.)

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfil what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
‘Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel’,which means, ‘God is with us.’ When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
Responsorial Psalm [NAB Lectionary]
In December 2002 I met a man in Manila, Mang Pepe, and his daughter Ligaya whose story reminded me so much of that of Joseph and Jesus in today's gospel. The story of Mang Pepe and Ligaya is told here by a Columban lay missionary from Korea, Columba Chang, who worked for many years in the Manila area and whose ministry at the time she wrote this story was to families affected by HIV/AIDS. The names used aren't their real names. 'Pepe' is a nickname for a man named Jose or Joseph. 'Mang' is a Tagalog term of respect for a man older than oneself. 'Aling' is the equivalent term for a woman. The name 'Ligaya' means 'Joy'. The story was first published, as I recall, in a newsletter of Caritas Manila and I used it in the November-December 2003 issue of MISYON, the Columban magazine in the Philippines that I edit. I republished it in the November-December 2015 issue of the magazine, now called MISYONonline.com. I think it is a story worth telling over and over again. Columba is now based in Myanmar as a member of a small team of Columban Lay Missionaries there. I have updated the introduction.


Continue here.

11 Dec 2016

In This Time of Preparation


‘Silence is so lacking in this world which is often too noisy, which is not favorable to recollection and listening to the voice of God. In this time of preparation for Christmas, let us cultivate interior recollection, so as to receive and keep Jesus in our lives.’
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI 
 

Jesus and Expectations



Pip's Christmas doesn't have much to do with Christmas, or Advent, but I figured this post should have something that looks 'seasonal.'

"...Blessed is the One Who Takes No Offense at Me"


We'll be hearing Matthew 11:2-11 this morning. The readings still aren't particularly 'Christmassy.'
"2 When John heard in prison 3 of the works of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to him "4 with this question, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?'
"Jesus said to them in reply, 'Go and tell John what you hear and see:
"5 the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. "And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.' "
(Matthew 11:4-6)
Our Lord balanced that rebuke with a reminder of the Baptist's great function in Matthew 11:7-15, and a complaint about folks who wouldn't listen to John or Jesus....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

9 Dec 2016

The God Who Comes


God always comes to be born anew in our hearts.

I can trust that He will come.
For He comes even on a  frosty whisper,
Lighting the darkness with pinpoints of hope
Just as the stars appear each dark night.
He will come, in spite of myself;
His arrival does not depend on my preparations.
Only that I wait expectantly in the dark.
If I open my inner stable door, He will come like a tiny child
Silently slipping into the open spaces in my heart.   continue reading

8 Dec 2016

‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: . . . the deaf hear . . .' Sunday Reflections, 3rd Sunday of Advent, Year A

St John the Baptist in Prison Juan Fernández de Navarrete
Gospel Matthew 3:1-12 (NRSV, Anglicised Catholic Ed.)

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offence at me.’
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to look at? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? Someone dressed in soft robes? Look, those who wear soft robes are in royal palaces. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Father Joseph Coyle was a Columban priest from Derry, Northern Ireland. He died in the Philippines on 18 December 1991, aged 54, and is buried in a Catholic cemetery here in Bacolod City where I live. Father Joe and I weren't related - my Coyle ancestors moved centuries ago from the north-west of Ireland, where the surname originated, to Rush, a fishing village north of Dublin city - but we felt a sense of kinship. He was ordained on 21 December 1961 during my first year in the Columban seminary in Ireland.
Fr Joseph Coyle
(28 February 1937 - 18 December 1991)    Continue here.

4 Dec 2016

Sin, Awareness, Repentance

Today's reading from the Gospels, Matthew 3:1-12, doesn't seem particularly Christmassy. Not in the 'presents wrapped under the tree' sense.
"1 2 In those days John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea. "(and) saying, 'Repent, 3 for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' ...

"...When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees 7 coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
"Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance....."
(Matthew 3:1-2, 7-8)
More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

2 Dec 2016

Advent Plans and Looking to Christmas

Here's a chatty little look at our Advent plans.  They may not be elaborate but they are helping to point us to Christmas and the sweet celebration of the Christ Child's birth.



Read more at Veils and Vocations.

28 Nov 2016

Advent - A Time for Preparation: Repent & Wait with Joy


Yesterday, we began the season of Advent, a time of preparation, repentance, waiting and joy. Sunday’s second reading from Romans 13:11-14 tells us to clothe ourselves in virtue:

Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in promiscuity and lust, not in rivalry and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.
 
When we put on the armor of light, we embrace virtue to... Read more...

Remembering Wisdom

I'm a Christian. So why, one might ask, am I not denouncing something most folks enjoy: like demon rum or Bingo? Or playing the Grinch...