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…)

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In the heart of the Trinity

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9th in a series of short homilies on the Mass

In my last homily in this series, we saw that, in the Mass, we join with all the saints and angels in heaven, and lead all humanity and all creation back to the Father. All of heaven and earth united: what a place to be! And yet, the Mass takes us somewhere even deeper than that.

For our Lord Jesus Christ saves us by bringing us into himself: uniting us with him, joining us to him, making us like him. This is why St. Paul so often speaks of being “in Christ”; this is why he wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal 2:20) And so, in the Mass, he brings us to the deepest place possible: to the heart of the Trinity. (more…)

Con la Virgen María como madre y guía, ¡sé lo que eres!

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Santa María, Madre de Dios: 1 Enero 2012
Nm 6, 22-27; Sal 66; Gal 4, 4-7; Lc 2, 16-21

“Cumplidos los ocho días, circuncidaron al niño y le pusieron el nombre de Jesús.”

Hoy llegamos al día octavo de la octava de Navidad. Ésta es una práctica de la Iglesia: las fiestas más importantes, para que no desaparezcan demasiado rápido, celebramos no sólo un día, sino regresamos a ellas otra vez en el día octavo, como un eco. O las celebramos en todos los ocho días, cambiando un día en ocho. Y así, actualmente, celebramos la octava de Navidad y la octava de la Pascua.

Y tenemos una razón muy natural para celebrar la Navidad así porque, como oímos, en el día octavo después de su natividad, nuestro Señor fue circuncidado y dado el nombre de Jesús. (more…)

In this New Year, embrace the Virgin Mary as your mother and your guide

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Mary, the Holy Mother of God: January 1, 2012
Num 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8; Gal 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21

“When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus.”

The Church has the practice of celebrating the octave of certain important feast days. Rather than just letting them slip away after one day of celebration, we return to celebrate them again on the eighth day, as a sort of echo. Or we celebrate all eight days, stretching one day into eight. And so it is that we currently celebrate the Octave of Christmas and the Octave of Easter.

And we have a natural reason to do this in the case of Christmas since, as we heard, on the eighth day after his birth, our Lord was circumcised and given the name Jesus. (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…)

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…)