December 25th, 2022 – Nativity of the Lord
“A God who became so small could only be mercy and love.” (St. Therese)
Merry Christmas everyone!
On behalf our Fr. Carlos and myself, our amazing parish staff, our parish trustees and lay leadership, please know of our love and best wishes as we celebrate the birthday of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
As we contemplate the gift of the Incarnation, in which God is born a little child in a stable, making holy this earth he created out of love in the most simple of conditions, we realize that the true meaning of Christmas is so simple. It is LOVE! And a love that translates into the awesome and challenging quality of mercy for others!
My prayer is that we accept that LOVE in a new way and live that LOVE in new and merciful ways in a world which, as the song says, is a world “in sin and error, pining.”
Let the party begin! Prepare the gifts of LOVE and MERCY! And Christ will smile!
Sincerely, with love and many blessings for you and all those dear to you,
December 18th, 2022 – Fourth Sunday of Advent
These days we look up to heaven and all the more eagerly we say,
“Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth the Savior” (Cf. Is 45:8.)
These are days of longing and much expectation. Christmas is only one week away, and our hearts are beginning to become a sea of emotions. For some there is much joy as they prepare to gather with their families and loved ones to celebrate this special season of the year. For others, there may be some sadness being triggered by the lights and the Christmas songs as they remember a loved one that has passed or as they realize that this year, they will spend Christmas alone.
The beauty of Christ’s birth is that he is born in every heart, the one that parties and celebrates and the one that mourns and feels lonely. The Lord was born in a manger, literally a trough, so that no one would ever feel excluded of his presence and love, no matter how messy one’s heart might be. I don’t think it can get any messier than a stable, and Jesus chose one as his birthplace!
This is the “Christmas miracle:” God is born a child to make us, human beings, capable of divine life. As Saint Athanasius once said, “… For the Son of Man becomes man so that we might become God.” Jesus is pleased to be born in every heart that welcomes him, again, no matter how messy it might be, to bring renewed hope, the warmth of love and the light of faith into that place.
No matter where we are at in life, I invite us all to welcome the Son of God into our hearts on Christmas day by saying with renewed expectation and longing this week, “Come, Lord Jesus, Come!”
December 11th, 2022 – Third Sunday of Advent
Gaudete (Rejoice!) Sunday
“Called to Be Holy!”
In our second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he reminds us this Rejoice Sunday that holiness is our goal. It is not only an other-worldly, next-life reality, but right now. Joy is possible when we realize that present sufferings and struggles are temporary. Only God’s love and his providential care are permanent and eternal! We live in joyful holiness, not because life is perfect, but because God’s love is perfect, and will always work things out.
It is in this spirit of joy and trust in God’s providence that I have to let you know that this past Tuesday the Archbishop appointed me Rector/Pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist while remaining pastor of our beloved Family of Four. The current Rector/Pastor, Bishop Haines, has decided that as his term ends, he will return to the sole task of leadership as one of our Auxiliary Bishops.
While it seems overwhelming, I am confident in our Lord’s guidance and mercy in assuming this new reality. The assignment begins in June so Bishop Jeff and his staff and I can set in motion effective pastoral planning in conjunction with the amazing lay staffs who serve our parishes. Also, another associate pastor in addition to our amazing Fr. Carlos will be assigned. The Priests’ Placement Board will help us in that process.
So on we go! Please feel free to contact me with any questions. As things unfold, I will keep you informed. I ask for your prayers!
Praying always for you, and grateful we can continue the journey together!
December 4th, 2022 – Second Sunday of Advent
Advent is a favorite season of mine. I love the joy and the sense of hope that permeate these days. During Advent we are reminded of the fact that things will get better! When the Lord comes, we will enjoy “the life of the world to come,” a life that knows no tears, pain or disappointment. As one of my favorite hymns says,
“Be still, my soul, the hour is hastening on when we shall be forever with the Lord, when disappointment, grief and fear are gone, sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.”
Starting this Advent, we will also make more available the practice of Eucharistic Adoration at the Family of Four. Every first Tuesday of the month, at SS Peter and Paul (2490 N Cramer St), the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed from 6:00-7:00 pm. Our first night of silent adoration will take place this Tuesday, December 6!
Eucharistic Adoration is yet another opportunity to witness the fact that even though Jesus is yet to come in glory, he is already here! Such is the creative tension in which the Christian is invited to live, that of anticipating the coming of the Lord while also acknowledging that he is already present in the Eucharist, in the person who is poor, in the community that gathers to pray, etc.
When we come to Eucharistic Adoration, there is not a specific script that needs to be followed. Jesus is there, exposed on the altar, waiting patiently to sit in conversation with you and me, willing to restore and strengthen our hearts and thus give us a taste of the joys of the life of the new world to come.
As we join our voices to that of the whole Church crying out in hopeful expectation, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” I invite us to visit Jesus present in the Eucharist and also in the person of the suffering and the poor, as we also remember his words, “whatever you did for these little brothers and sisters of mine, you did it for me.”