Christmas celebrates the Perfect Gift of God’s love in Jesus, and Advent is the time when we prepare our hearts to welcome this gift. This week, take time out of the busyness of the season to slow down and reflect on the miracle of God becoming man. After some quiet reflection, share your joy and inspiration with someone you love or on social media to spread the Perfect Gift of Jesus this Christmas season. Visit FindthePerfectGift.org to find Christmas resources and Mass times across the Archdiocese of Washington.
John the Baptist announced, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” Does preparing a way for the Lord have priority in our lives? Often we spend more time preparing paths for ourselves rather than a path for God. Advent calls us to take the focus off ourselves and put it on God. We prepare a path for God by practicing and living the virtues, being holy and devoted, patient and repentant, and attentive and humble. We are asked to bring comfort and healing to people and to show others by the way we live our lives that we have a higher calling and purpose.
We give thanks to our good friends at St Andrew Apostle in Silver Spring who donated about 100 boxes and bags of food as well as money for over 50 turkeys this Thanksgiving. When God gives, He gives in abundance!
Every one of God’s children is a unique creation with talents and gifts that are found in no one else. Each of us is asked to bring our special “twist” to life and to living the Gospel, leaving our impact on the world in a way that no one else can. Are we ever afraid to use our gifts or to be who we are? Fear can cripple us and prevent us from discovering the profound and creative ways in which we can become the person God meant us to be. We like our comfort zones and do not like to be stretched and challenged. Yet this is necessary if we are going to produce the fruit we are capable of producing and live the radical message of the Gospel. For serious Christians, the status quo has got to go!
Are we ready and prepared for what life will ask of us? The answers to life’s challenges, especially those that involve purpose, meaning, and happiness are not found in material things or by searching the Internet. Many things in life require a journey of the heart and the acquisition of wisdom. When one acquires wisdom, one acquires priceless wealth. Sadly, pursuing wisdom is not valued by our world these days. Examining our lives, pondering the bigger questions, reflecting on where we have been and where we are going, are invaluable exercises that not only bring us wisdom but open our eyes to God’s presence. Those who seek wisdom shall not be disappointed and will always be ready for whatever comes their way.
Nine-year-old Jacob Thompson may not live until Christmas. So, strangers are sending him an early holiday. “Jacob loves Christmas,” his father, Roger Guay, told the news station, encouraging people to continue sending him cards. “Any way to brighten his day would be a great benefit to him.” So the boy’s family, friends and complete strangers are bringing an early Christmas to the terminally ill boy — decorating his hospital room with a tree, requesting a special visit from Santa Claus and showing him support with homemade holiday cards. So we are asking the Assumption family to send cards. You may send the card yourself or bring the cards to church by Wednesday and Ms.
Mildred Brown will mail them altogether.
The address is:
C/O Maine Medical Center
22 Bramhall St
Portland, ME 04102
It is so easy to cast judgment upon the thoughts and behaviors of others. We have heard the phrase, “Practice what you preach.” If we really believe in Jesus, we will put great effort and care into following his example and living his message. Humility is our goal. True humility begins when I see myself as one among many wounded, searching souls who are striving to work out a place in life and discover who God is and how God acts. We are here today because we need to taste and feel the God who reveals himself fully in the Eucharist-the God who is our strength, hope, and salvation. We are not here because we are better or wiser than anyone else for we are simply humble sinners in need of mercy
God insists that we treat each other with fairness and love. No compromise is offered here. The great commandment is specific: love God, neighbor, and self.
Who is my neighbor? It is not just the person sitting next to me today or the people who live next door. Our neighbor is everyone, especially those most in need: those alien to you or to our country, those who are poor, alone, or abandoned, and even those who are the greatest of sinners.
We really struggle with how to live these words. How do we open ourselves to the stranger, the immigrant, those who harm us, those in need, or those with whom we disagree? Pope Francis gives excellent guidance here. We are challenged to stretch our thinking and become more unconditional with others as God is unconditional with us.
If the coin belongs to Caesar, then give it to him. Paying taxes is often unpleasant, but requires little self-investment. We know that a portion of our income must go back to the government, but what then, exactly, belongs to God? God does not seek our financial resources. What belongs to God is something that we sometimes want to keep to ourselves or divide in different places. What belongs to God is our hearts. We owe everything to God, even our very being. Without God we are nothing. God patiently continues to tell the world: “I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides me.” How do we unite the varied allegiances of our hearts into one under God?
Fr. Greg Shaffer
3401 Martin Luther King Jr. AVE, SE
Washington, DC 20032
Fr. Greg Cell: 240-463-9960
Outreach Center: 202-561-5941
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