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Here is your God

3rd Sunday Advent

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Sunday only?
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Prophets
Speak the truth / light us on fire for the Lord
Here is your God
Elijah: words as a flaming furnace
Christ: hearts burning

Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand

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Repent!
Of your sins
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Season of preparation + expectation

10 Reflections for Advent

I recently shared this in the bulletin, but these are great tips from Our Sunday Visitor.  I hope you’ll pause during this busy holiday season and consider the 2nd coming of Christ.

-Fr Greg

10 Tips for Reflection at Advent

  • Reflect on Advent as a time of waiting. The idea of waiting is not popular in our culture of instant gratification, but it creates in us a new kind of self-discipline that helps us to appreciate the present moment and look to the future with peaceful anticipation.
  • Turn your breathing into a prayer. Take a few deep breaths throughout the day and imagine that God’s love is flowing through you to every part of your body. As you exhale, let go of tension, worry and anything else that is not of God.
  • Long for the Lord. Make it a habit of silently praying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
  • Unite with Mary. Set aside time once a day to join Our Lady in praying the Canticle of Mary (see Lk 1:46-55).
  • Do something nice for someone every day. It might be an encouraging word, a phone call, a note of appreciation or a little act of kindness.
  • Get rid of grudges. Use Advent as an opportunity to let go of any anger or resentment that you might be holding onto.
  • Pray for patience. If you find yourself becoming anxious or upset, ask the Lord for the gift of patience. Then make a conscious effort to be a more patient person.
  • Offer up something painful or difficult in your life. The best way to transform trials and tensions is to turn them into a prayer.
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Attend your parish penance service and take advantage of the opportunity to cleanse your soul in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
  • Think about the special gifts and talents God has given you. How are you using these gifts?

 -Lorene Hanley Duquin

A season of preparation

Happy Advent! Here is an article from Our Sunday Visitor to help us enter into Advent and prepare for the coming of Christ. It is a reflection on Advent.

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Advent means “coming” and, simply put, Advent is the season when we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.

You learn an awful lot about our faith when you teach religion to children. I recall two incidents that happened to me when I was a parish priest where kids taught me something about Advent.

The first incident happened when I was visiting a class of fourth graders during the Season of Advent. I asked them, “Can any of you help me understand Advent better?”

A little girl, named Judy, raised her hand and said, “Well, Father, sure. At this time of the year, in the weeks before Christmas, I always see my mom and dad cleaning and decorating the house, cooking and baking good stuff, all to get ready for the company that’s going to come visit us at Christmastime.”

“So Advent,” Judy went on, “is the time when we get our hearts ready for the greatest Christmas gift of all — namely, Jesus.”

Now I don’t think that’s a bad definition at all of Advent, do you?

The second incident happened when I was teaching grade school at the parishes where I was assigned at the time. One day, I was telling them — sixth graders this time — about Advent as the time that we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. “But, Father Tim,” a young fellow said, “Jesus already came that first Christmas, in Bethlehem, in the stable. So how can we get ready for His coming now? He already came!”

-Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Stay awake and be prepared!

First Sunday of Advent

Homily by Fr Gregory Pine, O.P.

Christ is Born!

The following is taken from the Office of Readings (Liturgy of the Hours) for the Feast of the Holy Family:

From an address by Blessed Paul VI, pope
(Nazareth, January 5, 1964)

Nazareth, a model

“Nazareth is a kind of school where we may begin to discover what Christ’s life was like and even to understand his Gospel. Here we can observe and ponder the simple appeal of the way God’s Son came to be known, profound yet full of hidden meaning. And gradually we may even learn to imitate him.

Here we can learn to realize who Christ really is. And here we can sense and take account of the conditions and circumstances that surrounded and affected his life on earth: the places, the tenor of the times, the culture, the language, religious customs, in brief, everything which Jesus used to make himself known to the world. Here everything speaks to us, everything has meaning. Here we can learn the importance of spiritual discipline for all who wish to follow Christ and to live by the teachings of his Gospel.

How I would like to return to my childhood and attend the simple yet profound school that is Nazareth! How wonderful to be close to Mary, learning again the lesson of the true meaning of life, learning again God’s truths. But here we are only on pilgrimage.

Time presses and I must set aside my desire to stay and carry on my education in the Gospel, for that education is never finished. But I cannot leave without recalling, briefly and in passing; some thoughts I take with me from Nazareth.

First, we learn from its silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value. We need this wonderful state of mind, beset as we are by the cacophony of strident protests and conflicting claims so characteristic of these turbulent times. The silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God’s inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God.

Second, we learn about family life. May Nazareth serve as a model of what the family should be. May it show us the family’s holy and enduring character and exemplify its basic function in society: a community of love and sharing, beautiful for the problems it poses and the rewards it brings, in sum, the perfect setting for rearing children—and for this there is no substitute.

Finally, in Nazareth, the home of a craftsman’s son, we learn about work and the discipline it entails. I would especially like to recognize its value—demanding yet redeeming—and to give it proper respect. I would remind everyone that work has its own dignity. On the other hand, it is not an end in itself. Its value and free character, however, derive not only from its place in the economic system, as they say, but rather from the purpose it serves.

In closing, may I express my deep regard for people everywhere who work for a living. To them I would point out their great model, Christ their brother, our Lord and God, who is their prophet in every cause that promotes their well-being.”

Christ is born!

Fr Greg

Feast of the Holy Family

Feast of the Holy family – “The love of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph”

Former life

Love of holy family
God
Each other
Righteousness

Love in our families
God
Each other
Righteousness

Christ – center of family life / love

God Favors the Humble

4th Sunday advent – “God favors the humble”

Holy Land / Bethlehem

God likes little guy
David (v Goliath)
Gideon? (Army reduced)
Church – 12 apostles
Church new Gideon??

James 4:6 – God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble

“There is no room for God in him who is full of himself” – Jewish philosopher

Bethlehem
Greek: least
Hebrew : little
From little came (and became) something huge

Elizabeth
Little – “how does this happen…?”
Her humility
Should be us at Holy Communion!

Nativity scene
Little – manger, baby, little known
Little baby – focus for Christmas
God became little!
Eucharist – still little

Little / humble are really big in Gods eyes
Humbled = exalted
Exalted = humbled

Humility, Poverty and Trusting in God

Pope Francis’ preparation for Christmas: humility, poverty, and trust.

[From zenit.org. December 15, 2015]

The Church, Pope Francis says, must be three things: humble, poor and trusting in the
Lord.

The Pontiff stressed this during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa
Marta, reported Vatican Radio, noting that the Church’s mission is in following the
Beatitudes, and that its riches are in the poor.

Reflecting on the first reading from the Book of Zephaniah in which Jesus rebukes the
chief priests and warns them that even prostitutes will precede them into the Kingdom
of Heaven, Pope Francis observed that still today temptations can corrupt the witness
of the Church.

“A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord,” Francis said, “must be humble, poor and
trusting in God”.

Humility

To be a humble Church or a humble person, the Jesuit explained, one must be
prepared to say: “I am a sinner.” Humility, Francis underscored, is not “a pretense” or
“theatrical attitude.”

True humility demands that the Church and every one of us takes a first step and
recognizes one’s sinfulness, and is not “judgmental, pointing to the defects of others
and gossiping about them.”

Poverty

Poverty, which “is the first of the Beatitudes,” Francis noted, is the second step. To be
poor in spirit, he explained, means that one is “attached only to the riches of God.”
Given this, he added, we must say “no to a Church that is attached to money, that
thinks of money, that thinks of how to earn money.”

The Pope recalled the martyrdom of the Deacon Lawrence, an heroic witness in the
first millennium who assembled the poor before the emperor saying they represented
the real gold and silver of the Church, and he warned against some ancient customs
which demanded monetary offers from pilgrims in order to pass through the Holy
Door.

“As is known,” the Holy Father mentioned, “in a temple of the diocese, to pass
through the Holy Door, naively they said to people that you had to make an offer: this
is not the Church of Jesus, this is the Church of these chiefs priests, attached to
money.”

Trusting in God

The third step for this humble Church, Pope Francis said, is to always trust in the Lord
that never disappoints.

“Where is my faith? In power, in friends, in money? It is in the Lord! The legacy that
God promised to leave us is of a humble and poor people who trust in the name of the
Lord. Humble because it knows it sins; poor because it is attached to the riches of
God; trusting in the Lord because it knows that only He has its good at heart,” he said.
Pope Francis concluded with the prayer, that “as we prepare for Christmas,” we have
“a humble heart, a poor heart, a heart that trusts in the Lord who never disappoints.”

–Sincerely in Christ,
Fr Greg