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Showing posts from December, 2010

Emmanuel, God With US

A Blessed Christmas to one and all. I had promised a video for Christmas but let's just say that due to technical difficulties it wasn't meant to be, but there are certainly many thoughts on my mind as we celebrate this wonderful feast of the Lord's birth.

   Over nearly 40 years of ministry as a priest some words that I often hear as Christmas approaches go something like this, "It's been tough lately. There won't be any Christmas for us this year." While I certainly resonate with and have compassion towards those who express these sentiments I would like to suggest
that there is another way to look at Christmas.  Modern advertising presents us with images of Christmas that are unreal.  There is almost always snow, but just enough and no one has to shovel it.  Families are always happy and healthy.  Alcohol is consumed, but never too much.  What happens is that we compare our lives to these images and then conclude that "There is no Christmas for…

Surprise: Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection

None of us likes to be called out of our comfort zone. We tend to resist change.  Yet the message of the Scripture over and over again is that our God is always calling us to change, to a new place, where God can be revealed to us more fully.  As we come to the end of Advent this truth is brought before us.  This year the Gosepl reading for this Sunday is the annunciation to Joseph. (Matthew 1:18-25) In other years the annunciation to Mary is featured, but in both cases we have people who have their wedding plans made, everything all figured out, and God intervenes calling them in a new direction, a wonderful direction to be sure, but nonetheless in upheaval in each of their lives.  The Scriptures are filled with such stories--the calls of the prophets, the call of the apostles, etc.
   Granted that you and I are not likely to have anything happen to us quite as dramatic as what happens to Mary and Joseph in these Gospel accounts, but I do know that in my own experience over the ye…

Our Lady of Guadalupe

For the second year in a row I am on the road for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Last year I was in Paduca, KY, this year in Pahokee, FL.  As I have pointed out previously those who know me know that my preferred style of spirituality is not highly devotional, yet when I participate in this feast I am fully drawn into it. I beleive that the reason for that is the sincerity and authenticity of the people, and the power that this feast represents in their life and culture.   We Americans can be so much in our head as we worship and pray.  We hesitate to clap, sing and express our faith emotionally.  None of that here. Everyone is fully into it.  The little video clip was made at 5 AM today, not an hour when I'm usually awake, before most of the folks headed off to work in the sugar can fields around here.

   This feast is so important in the lives of people from Mexico and Central America because it represents a moment when God clearly was revealed as on the side of the poo…

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

I'm at Mary Immaculate Parish in West Palm Beach, FL, ending a parish mission here on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  Two of my brother friars offer interesting perspectives, one by a fine student friar from my province, Br. Dan Horan,OFM can be found by clicking in the link to his Blog which interestingly enough is called Dating God  Friar Dan's Blog.

The other I have copied below from the daily meditation of Richard Rohr, OFM.  Dan's is more scholarly and historical, Richard's is a meditation, but both suggest that finding meaning in this teaching is a work of continued reflection. You might note that Richard Rohr's page offers a chance too receive his daily meditations.  I highly recommend them.

 Sunrise in Honduras, (photo detail) by ©Henry Hoffman   ADVENTWednesday, December 8, 2010
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
As Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, he will always love one and ignore the other” (Matthew 6:24).  Our first and final loya…