Amidst the beautiful Christmas readings at today’s Masses is a reading from a small New Testament letter from Saint Paul to his protégé, Titus, read at Midnight Mass. Saint Paul reminds Titus that God has given us a gift in the person of Jesus Christ.READ MORE
The wonderful joy we feel in December as we await the coming of the Christ child is not so joyful for the millions of children in the United States who will go hungry this Christmas.READ MORE
Advent is a time of waiting and expectation; a season of quiet anticipation and preparation. We are waiting for our Lord to come into the world as the baby Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary in Bethlehem. We are also preparing for His return, His second coming as the shepherd-king, to restore harmony and right relationship to all creation.READ MORE
Today’s reading from Isaiah gives us a poetic glimpse of the true meaning of shalom. Shalom, in Hebrew, is not merely peace in the sense of absence of conflict. It is a greeting and a wish – peace be with you.
It is a peace that arises from true reconciliation and cooperation, not just a chilly détente where we agree not to talk about the things that divide us.READ MORE
Like many parts of our liturgical tradition, the washing of hands has its roots in Jewish temple tradition, but also has a practical function. In Jewish custom, the priests would ritually wash themselves before offering sacrifice at the temple as prescribed in the Torah (Ex 30:19). This was to symbolize the need to come before the Lord with pure intent on behalf of the people. This tradition was incorporated into the Christian Eucharistic rite from the earliest centuries.
Over time, however, the washing of hands took on a practical function as well. In the Middle Ages, at the time of the offertory, most people didn’t donate coins. Instead, they gave what they had: eggs, wheat, wool, vegetables, or other products of the land. The priest would receive these gifts on behalf of the Church – but in doing so, would be handling the raw produce. So the washing hands became an essential need before going to handle the sacred species.READ MORE
The Advent wreath has a rather mysterious origin. The tradition has taken many different forms over the years. The ring of lights originates in northern Europe, and likely began with the simple need to light the family dinner table during the long nights of winter. In Scandinavia, they had the tradition of arranging candles in a wheel, representing the changing of seasons from one year to the next. Separately, the tradition of wreath-making goes back to pre-Christian Greece and Rome, where circles of leaves and flowers were used to crown the victors in competitions and brides on their wedding day.READ MORE
On this first Sunday of Advent Jesus urges his disciples to stay awake and prepare themselves for the Lord’s coming. Good stewards prepare themselves and await Christ’s judgment in joyous expectation. This attitude requires genuine spiritual maturity, of course; the kind that is cultivated by prayer, participation in the sacraments, loving attention to family and one’s communion of faith, and love for one’s neighbor.READ MORE
Many of you may be remember the old hymn (written in 1851), “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” Apparently, here at St. Francis Xavier, we took this quite literally, because we have at least 45 crowns of Christ on the inside of our church building. See if you can find them- there are at least 31 crowns of thorns, 12 crowns of gold, and 2 marble crowns.READ MORE
For most of us, the ultimate way we experience Christ’s active presence is in our parishes. It is there that we hear the Word of God and are nourished by the Eucharist. So, this Thanksgiving let us offer prayers of gratitude for our parishes, pastors, pastoral teams, parish leaders and all the faithful who gather together to give witness to Christ’s presence.READ MORE
“It is gratitude that ultimately asks one thing, but at a great price: fall extravagantly in love with what is given.”
Those words were penned by a Jesuit priest, Pat Malone, a man who volunteered for service at Ground Zero after the 9/11 World Trade Center bombings, and who struggled with leukemia and associated complications before succumbing to the disease in his early fifties. A mystic, Father Malone endured, or as he described it, “was given” much suffering. He was also given love, as he was beloved by his parishioners at Creighton University’s parish, St. John’s, who put together a book of his homilies and writings following his death.READ MORE
A common piece of advice in the business world is to “dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Putting in the extra time and effort to present yourself as “management material” often has the very real effect not only others regarding you in a more positive light, but it can also remind you that you are worthy of such respect and trust and should therefore act like it.READ MORE
There is a saying that if the gospel message does not pique our conscience, then we have not heard the gospel. Today, based on the first reading from the Book of Sirach, the focus is on the contrast of the “haves and the have nots”. It is not God’s fault that this is the global reality of injustice that we live in.READ MORE
There’s an old but good story (and for you true historians, apparently, it’s just a story) about Winston Churchill’s last public speech. As the story goes, late in 1964, the then 90-year-old former British Prime Minister was invited to give the commencement address at a small college in London. He had not appeared in public in many years, but to everyone’s surprise, he accepted the invitation.READ MORE
From a previously printed bulletin on August 18, 2019…A message from Fr. Bob Fambrini, SJ.
My personal reflection continues…
Unlike today when vocations to religious life normally are second careers, the vast majority of my novice classmates in 1967 were right out of high school.READ MORE
From a previously printed bulletin on August 11, 2019…
I am happy to continue a tradition here at St. Francis Xavier of submitting a weekly letter to the parishioners. This is a practice I am not used to; however, I welcome this new challenge. I thought that since I am new, I would spend my first few letters with autobiographical information, highlighting important moments in my life as a Jesuit (52 years) and as a priest (40 years).READ MORE