Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year's Eve

Today, December 31, 2019, we celebrate the last day of the year.  The day is often celebrated with getting together with others and parties that last through the night.  Many people will brave the elements and gather in Times Square to watch the magnificent ball drop ringing in the New Year.  Some people take time today to reflect on the past year and from their reflection make resolutions for the year to come.  However you mark this day doesn’t really matter what is important is that you take time to look back and celebrate or mourn what has been and move forward looking happily on what will come.

These days have certainly been filled with many hardships and difficulties as well as triumphs and great successes.  Our world has seen great pain in the last few weeks and this extreme hatred must come to an end and we must live the way that Jesus taught us to.  There is no room in our life for hatred or lack of acceptance.  Every human person is created with dignity given by God.  There is no room for blatant hatred, racism and lack of understanding in our world today.  Each one of us has to work toward mutual acceptance and the willingness to forgive those who have wronged us. 

Let us pray…Jesus, light and bringer of light. Jesus, bringer of life and healer of the wounds of sin. Jesus, reconciler of broken relationships.  May Your light shine in our lives, and may we each become Your light for others.  As this New Year dawns may we radiate Your love to others in all we do, say and are.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Joy at Meeting the Baby Jesus

There was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.  And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.  When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.  (Luke 2: 36 – 40)

In today’s Gospel we hear the joy of the prophetess Anna, who received the ultimate reward for her devotion. She got to see the baby Jesus!  What joy she must have experienced.  When she was at the Temple Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus there for the customary ritual.  Anna probably got to hold the baby and stroked His head as she held the bundle of joy.  As an elder she probably reacted as a loving grandmother would have.  Anna told all who would listen to her about the child.  Her Advent journey ended when she experienced the baby.  As we live the Christmas mystery let us do so with joy and hope.

Friday, December 27, 2019

St. John the Evangelist

Beloved: What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life—for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.  1 John 1:1-4

Today, the third day of the Octave of Christmas, is dedicated to St. John.  St. John is particularly important to honor during Christmas because of the fact that so much of what we know about Jesus comes from him.  Not only did he write one of the four Gospels, he also wrote various letters that are preserved.  The letter above was from the first reading of the Mass for today.  In this letter, John echoes what he wrote in the first chapter of his Gospel when he spoke of the Eternal Word, existing from the beginning, taking on flesh.  Here, he echoes that “What was from the beginning…was made visible to us.”  Namely, the Eternal Son of the Father took on flesh for us to see.  John was a witness to this.

As we honor St. John, it’s good to try to look at Christmas from his perspective.  He would have been able to ponder the great mystery of the Incarnation of God throughout his life.  He would have pondered the reality that this man whom he came to know personally and intimately existed from before time and was a member of the Most Holy Trinity.  For John, the Incarnation would have been particularly real and overwhelming in a personal and transforming way.  John saw and believed.  Let us celebrate John today and remember that we, too, are called to believe.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Reconciliation Monday

Today is Reconciliation Monday in the Archdiocese of New York.  In keeping with the intent of the day we had Reconciliation for our students, faculty and staff.  It was a rather heartwarming day to say the least.  During each period students were invited to reflect on the Scripture, Matthew 10: 28 – 30, Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”  (Matthew 10: 28 – 30)

Our students genuinely entered into the prayer time and were respectful.  They fully embraced the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation if they chose to do so.  Many students availed themselves to the Sacrament and were grateful for the opportunity.

The priests who came to celebrate the Sacrament with us were very kind and all came highly recommended.  On this day of Reconciliation let us take the opportunity to embrace the forgiveness we have been given by Jesus and share that with others.  As we approach the mystery of Christmas let us take the time to reach out to others who we need to forgive and share Jesus’ peace and love with them.