Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Mary, the Holy Mother of God
Num 6:22-27  + Gal 4:4-7  +  Luke 2:16-21
January 1, 2017

“…God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law….”

2017 will see the celebration by many of our separated brethren of the historic start of Protestantism.  On October 31, 1517 the Augustinian priest Martin Luther publicly set forth questions he wanted debated within the Church.  Following this event, thousands of Protestant denominations emerged that today teach and practice contrary and even contradictory beliefs. Continue reading

The 7th Day of Christmas

The Seventh Day within the Octave of Christmas
1 John 2:18-21  +  John 1:1-18
December 31, 2016

“Thus we know this is the last hour.”

Because the Nativity is always celebrated on December 25, the seventh day of the Octave of Christmas is always December 31.  While the world prepares to celebrate tonight the passing from one year to the next, the Church encourages us to meditate on what is eternal by means of one of the most beautiful passages from the Gospel. Continue reading

The Holy Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph [A]
Sirach 3:2-6,12-14  +  Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
December 30, 2016

“He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth….”

The Holy Family, still weary from their journey to Bethlehem, and weary from their search through Bethlehem to find suitable lodging, were forced after Christ’s birth to flee their own country for the foreign land of Egypt, out of fear for Jesus’ life.  But this was only the first of many sorrows for the Holy Family. Continue reading

The 5th Day of Christmas

The Fifth Day within the Octave of Christmas
1 John 2:3-11  +  Luke 2:22-35
December 29, 2016

“Whoever loves his brother remains in the light….”

The branch of theology called Christology does nothing more than explore answers to the question posed by the old Christmas hymn:  “What child is this?”  Many Scripture passages about the nativity and early life of Jesus reflect on the question of His identity.  For example, the three gifts of the Magi represent the Person before whom they prostrate themselves.  When Mary and Joseph are confused at finding the child Jesus in the Temple, Jesus drives home the point that He is the Son of God who belongs in His Father’s House. Continue reading

The Holy Innocents

The Holy Innocents, Martyrs
1 John 1:5—2:2  +  Matthew 2:13-18
December 28, 2016

“Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet:….”

As did the feast of St. Stephen the Proto-Martyr, today’s feast on the fourth day in the Christmas Octave points our attention to the way in which birth and death are intertwined.  Birth and death are not just ends of an earthly spectrum.  The link between them is more profound than that. Continue reading

St. John the Beloved Disciple

St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
1 John 1:1-4  +  John 20:1,2-8
December 27, 2016

“…what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us….”

“God is love.”  There’s hardly a less controversial statement in modern Western culture than this one.  But if you were to press people as to the implications of this simple statement, you’d quickly see a divergence from the scriptural witness to this belief that God is, in His very Three-Personed nature, self-giving love. Continue reading

St. Stephen

St. Stephen the Proto-Martyr
Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59  +  Matthew 10:17-22
December 26, 2016

“‘Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.’”

Today’s feast stands alongside the feast of the Holy Innocents, whom we’ll honor in the Sacred Liturgy in two days.  To some, the celebration of these martyrs within just days of celebrating the birth of the tiny God-man might seem macabre.  In fact, the Sacred Liturgy is focusing our attention on the integrity of our Faith. Continue reading

The Nativity of the Lord

The Nativity of the Lord    Mass during the Day
Isaiah 52:7-10  +  Hebrews 1:1-6  +  John 1:1-18
December 25, 2016

“And the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us….”

It’s telling that the Gospel passage on Christmas morning is repeated just six days later, on December 31.  This Gospel passage speaks to the beginning and end of not just our salvation, but of God’s entire work of creation. Continue reading

December 24th Morning Mass

Late Advent Weekday — December 24
II Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16  +  Luke 1:67-69
December 24, 2016

“‘…the dawn from on high shall break upon us….’”

This morning’s Scriptures are beautiful in their simplicity.  The Gospel passage is a prophecy.  We’re so familiar with the Benedictus from praying Lauds each day that we might forget the words by which St. Luke the Evangelist introduces this hymn:  “Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying….” Continue reading

December 23rd

Late Advent Weekday — December 23
Malachi 3:1-4,23-24  +  Luke 1:57-66
December 23, 2016

“…he spoke blessing God.”

In these last weekdays before Christmastide, our Gospel passages focus not on the Holy Family, but on Elizabeth, Zechariah and John the Baptist.  These passages come from St. Luke’s account of the Gospel.  It’s striking how much attention Luke shows to the events surrounding the birth of John, and how many parallels to and contrasts with the stories of Jesus’ birth that Luke makes. Continue reading