Ready or not, Christmas is next weekend! Although we may be very busy this week with final decorating, shopping and food preparations, I hope that we can all take the time to prayerfully recognize that soon we will be celebrating the fact that Jesus is very much among us!
In today’s gospel, we heard that Mary, carrying the infant Jesus, hurried to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, who was also carrying a child, John the Baptist. When Mary arrived at her cousin’s home, the yet unborn John the Baptist leaped in Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth herself was ‘filled with joy’! John leaped and Elizabeth was filled with joy because they recognized that they were in the presence of Jesus!READ MORE
Today’s Gospel tells us to “stand tall and raise your heads” and pay attention to the signs of the times, so that we might be ready when the Lord comes. The images in the Gospel can be frightening – signs in the heavens, the shaking of the earth, the roaring of the sea – and one way to respond to these could be to lock our doors, hide under our blankets, and mistrust strangers who come our way.READ MORE
I once got out of a traffic ticket because I remembered the altar boy’s first response to the priest in the traditional Latin Mass. It comes from Psalm 43: “I will unto the altar of God. To God, who gives joy to my youth.” That is how the Mass began: responding to a call to the altar. An altar call is a tradition in some Christian churches in which those who wish to make a new spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ are invited to come forward publicly. It is tempting to see this as something done only in Protestant churches and yet, for the past several weeks, we have been doing the very same thing in our communion procession. Now we all come to the altar to receive the Eucharist or a blessing. Our “Amen” affirms our belief in the real presence and a renewal of our own spiritual commitment to Jesus Christ. Today after the homily you will receive a special invitation to come to the altar to place your Stewardship Commitment card in a basket. Too often stewardship is seen only as a monetary contribution rather than a fuller service commitment of time and talent as well. It is for this reason that I am asking you to make this special trip to the altar today as a symbol of your love of and ongoing commitment to St. Francis Xavier parish and GodREAD MORE
Humility and gratitude are two virtues that stand out for me in the gospel of today.
Jesus speaks strongly to the religious leadership of the day. The scribes and Pharisees are hypocrites in that they preach one thing and do another. Love God and love one's neighbor is the one commandment that sums up the Jewish tradition. The scribes and Pharisees are only looking after themselves and even makREAD MORE
A long time ago, President John F. Kennedy told the nation; “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. That’s not unlike what Jesus tells his disciples, and us, today. Two disciples, James and John, ask the outlandish and outrageous favor of sitting at Jesus’ left and right hand, in glory, for all eternity! He gently reminds them that they have it all upside-down. Jesus Himself did not come seeking honor and glory, or to be served and treated like a king – nor should we. He came to wash the feet of his friends and endure the most horrific death so that we might share eternal life with Him.READ MORE
Using our imagination as we read the gospel for today, we can see the “young” man running up to Jesus and anxious to tell Jesus that he was a faithful follower of the Covenant. Did he have to do any more to get a guaranteed pass to heaven?READ MORE
When I was Novice Director I would explain to my young (and not so young) charges that as Jesuits they will travel a lot and at the end of the day they may not remember if the bed was comfortable or if the meals were tasty, but they will certainly remember if they felt welcomed in a community of brothers they hardly knew.READ MORE
At the Last Supper Jesus became the Paschal Lamb. At the time of the original Passover, the blood of the sacrificial lamb on their doorposts meant the Angel of Death would pass over the Israelites houses so that they might be freed from slavery. At the Last Supper, when Jesus proclaimed himself to be the Lamb of God and gave us his Body and Blood sacrificed on the wood of the cross, Jesus became our Paschal Lamb and freed us from Sin and everlasting Death.READ MORE