The Twelve Spiritual Days of Christmas

Twelve Spiritual Days of ChristmasAfter the material Christmas preparations quiet down… let your spiritual Christmas joy begin! Father Dan offers you an audio “online retreat” (recorded in 2010). From Monday December 26 through Friday January 6, take 15-20 minutes to listen and receive every gift your True Love gives to you—every day of the original 12 Days of Christmas.

Audio Only:
Day 1: Entering the Twelve Days (12:57)
Day 2: God the Father (17:22)
Day 3: The Archangel Gabriel (16:55)
Day 4: Zechariah (19:16)
Day 5: Elizabeth (17:03)
Day 6: Mary (16:56)
Day 7: Joseph (17:40)
Day 8: The Shepherds (20:10)
Day 9: Simeon & Anna (19:04)
Day 10: King Herod (20:51)
Day 11: The Magi (18:43)
Day 12: Going home changed (18:40)

Who is the baby Jesus? Get it right, or Santa might punch you in the nose!

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Christmas, Mass during the Day: Dec. 25, 2011
Isa 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-5, 9-14

Did you ever hear the story about the time that Santa Claus punched someone? No? Well, I’ll tell it to you. It happened a very long time ago, almost 17 centuries ago, in a city in what is now Turkey. How it came about—that’s a long story!  And, in fact, it actually has something to do with the Gospel reading we just heard.

And maybe you’re thinking: “Yeah, I can see why that Gospel reading would irritate someone. I was expecting a Christmas reading, with shepherds and angels; and instead that was completely different.”

Well, this reading from the beginning of the Gospel of John really is a Christmas reading—just from a different perspective. (more…)

La Luz que penetra nuestras tinieblas

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La Navidad del Señor, Misa vespertina de la Vigilia:
24 Diciembre 2011

Is 62, 1-5; Sal 88; Hch 13, 16-17.22-25; Mt 1, 1-25

¡Qué bonita es esta época del año! ¡Qué bonito es el adorno de la iglesia esta tarde!—las luces brillando en los arboles; las flores vertiendo desde el santuario. Y este Belén hermoso, inclusive este pastorcillo, nuevo en este año.

Y así paramos un momento en el resplandor, para disfrutarlo, con todos los regalos y las tarjetas y las canciones y las horas juntos con la familia y los amigos. Una canción en inglés declara que ésta es “la época más maravillosa del año.”

Y entonces recogemos y guardamos todo, fuera de la vista, unos 10 o 11 meses. ¿Por qué? Si todo es tan maravilloso, ¿por qué pasa en solo una parte del año? (more…)

More than tinsel: The Light of the World penetrates our darkness

(This is a translation of the Spanish homily, so there is no mp3.)
Christmas, Vigil Mass: December 24, 2011
Isa 62:1-5; Ps 89; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matt 1:1-25

How beautiful it all is, this time of year! Everywhere, even here in the church, we see lights twinkling in the trees. And we have these glorious flowers pouring forth from the sanctuary. And this handsome nativity scene, including the new shepherd boy figure this year.

And so we pause in its glow, and take it all in, with the gifts and the cards and the songs and the times together with family and friends. One song tells us: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

And then we put it all away in storage, for 10 or 11 months. Why? If it’s so wonderful, why is it only one part of the year? (more…)

Por la Navidad, tu familia nunca será la misma

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IV Domingo de Adviento, Año B: 18 Diciembre 2011
2 Sm 7, 1-5.8-12.14.16; Sal 88; Rom 16, 25-27; Lc 1, 26-38

En esta época del año, pensamos mucho en la familia. Aún los norteamericanos—famosos por enfocarse en el trabajo y en las cosas materiales—paran las actividades del empleo para pasar un rato con la familia. La Navidad, el Año Nuevo, la Epifanía o el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos—toda esta época trae los viajes para reunirse, para pasar días muy amables con la familia. Habrá juegos, deportes, cuentos, canciones, y comidas—mucha risa, mucho gozo. Y, cuando no podemos reunirnos con nuestra familia, sentimos la falta. Porque así es la época.

Y hoy, en el cuarto domingo de Adviento, mientras nos preparamos a dar la bienvenida al Señor en su segunda venida, y a celebrar dignamente su primera venida, oímos en las lecturas cómo la promesa de su Encarnación afectó a dos personas y a sus planes para sus familias. (more…)

This season, don’t forget the Lord’s gift!

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4th Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 18, 2011
2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; Ps 89; Rom 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

How has the season been going for you? Crazy? Full of work? Maybe I should ask: How are you doing on all your Christmas tasks? Almost done? Still making progress? All that shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, mailing? All those parties and pageants to go to, trips to make, cards to sign? It’s a lot of work, this Christmas season, as most Americans currently observe it—especially for adults. A lot of work to make it a “magical” experience for children; a lot of work to demonstrate to others that you love and appreciate them.

But have you forgotten something? (more…)

Gaudete Sunday: Find your joy in the Lord

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3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 11, 2011
Isa 61:1-2, 10-11; Luke 1; 1 Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist is one of the great figures of the Advent season. For during this season we look toward Christ’s Second Coming; and who better to help us prepare for that than John the Baptist, who helped the people of the first century prepare for Christ’s first coming. And how did he do that? He preached repentance—change; a turning away from sinful thoughts and attitudes and actions inside and sinful actions outside—to prepare the way of the Lord.

But it wasn’t just in his words and his action of baptizing that John prepared for the Lord. He also did so by who he was. (more…)

Immaculate Conception: Open hands, open heart

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Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Dec. 8, 2011

Gen 3:9-15, 20; Ps 98; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Luke 1:26-38

Today we celebrate that great gift that was given to the Virgin Mary from the first moment of her conception—a unique gift to prepare her for her unique vocation to be Mother of God. And our Scripture readings set her beside Eve—one woman and the other, so often compared, so often contrasted. And as the two of them come into focus, one thing that draws my attention is their body language—especially what they are doing with their hands.

For Eve’s hands, earlier in the same chapter of Genesis from which the first reading is taken, had closed—in fear and suspicion of God. She had reached out with them to take the fruit from the forbidden tree. (more…)

Inmaculada Concepción: Con las manos abiertas

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Inmaculada Concepción de la Virgen María:
8 Diciembre 2011

Gn 3, 9-15.20; Sal 97; Ef 1, 3-6.11-12; Lc 1, 26-38

En esta fiesta celebramos el don dado a la Virgen Maria en el primer instante de su concepción—un don especial, un don único, que la preparó para vivir su vocación única. Y para que entendamos este don, la primera lectura nos señala a Eva.

Y, en pensar en esta pareja de mujeres, sucede que pienso en su lenguaje gestual—en lo que hacen con sus manos.

Las manos de Eva, anteriormente en el capítulo, han cerrado en miedo y el recelo de Dios. (more…)

Esperar con emoción la venida del Señor

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II Domingo de Adviento, Año B: 4 Diciembre 2011
Is 40, 1-5.9-11; Sal 84; 2 Pe 3, 8-14; Mc 1, 1-8

Lo que oímos en la primera lectura es un mensaje de gran gozo. El Señor dice: “Consuelen, consuelen a mi pueblo.” El contexto era el exilio a Babilonia: cuando el reino del sur de Judá había vencido, el capital de Jerusalén destruido, el Templo del Señor encendido, y tanta gente noble y educada deportada a la tierra de Babilonia. Era el gran trauma para el Pueblo de Israel, con dolor y confusión.

Y en esta situación viene la palabra del Señor: ¡los exilios regresarán! Un camino será preparado en el desierto—con valles elevados, montes rebajados, y torcidos enderezados, para hacer este camino, desde la tierra del exilio, hasta la Tierra Santa, su hogar. (more…)