This Christmas, pause to reflect

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The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas): Dec. 25, 2012
Mass during the Day
Isa 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6; John 1:1-5, 9-14

There is a man who tells the story of when he was growing up, many years ago. His mother played the piano at their church, for over thirty years; and she tried to teach him to play the piano as well. He wasn’t very good at it, or very interested, but she tried. She taught him about scales, and major and minor keys. And one day she told him that the best news in the world could be found by playing a simple scale on the piano. What could she possibly mean? She told him to play an 8-note scale. He did. No, she said, you played it wrong; you need to play it from high to low. So he did. How was that good news? Well, she said, you played it right, but you left out the pauses: (more…)

“Consubstantial,” “Only Begotten,” the Trinity, and the Mass

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Trinity Sunday, Year B: June 3, 2012
Deut 4:32-34, 39-40; Ps 33; Rom 8:14-17; Matt 28:16-20

Over the past six months, we have celebrated the mysteries of our salvation: the Incarnation and birth of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Paschal Mystery of his passion, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven; and, last week, the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the Church at Pentecost. And so, as the Church has done for some 700 years, we now turn to what the Catechism calls “the central mystery of Christian faith and life… the mystery of God in himself… the source of all the other mysteries of faith”—that is, the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity.

We begin each Mass by entering into that mystery, by entering into “the name”—the being, the power, the reality—”of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” And we will see that truly entering into the Mass has everything to do with the life of the Trinity. (more…)

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…)