St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church
Isaiah 45:6-8,18,21-25  +  Luke 7:18-23
December 14, 2016

“‘…should we look for another?’”

The Season of Advent is full of dichotomies.  We wait in darkness for the dawn of a great light.  We wait for the deaf to hear and the lame to leap.  We reflect on the Old Covenant of God’s Chosen People as we await a birth that will give rise to a Church founded on a “new and everlasting covenant”.
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The 3rd Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent [A]
Isa 35:1-6, 10  +  Jas 5:7-10  +  Mt 11:2-11
December 11, 2016

“Take as an example of hardship and patience, brethren, the prophets who spoke….”

“Hardship and patience” don’t come easily to most of us.  Still, at least patience we can see the value of more easily than the value of hardship.  We know from daily experience how much we need the virtue of patience in order to get along in this world (not to mention in order to have a shot at Heaven!).  As we grow up, we need patience with our brothers, and with our sisters.  Within one’s family, parents need patience with their children, and children with their parents.  Employees need patience with their bosses, and bosses with their employees. Continue reading

St. Lucy

St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Zephaniah 3:1-2,9-13  +  Matthew 21:28-32
December 13, 2016

 “‘Which of the two did his father’s will?’”

Jesus applies His parable of the two sons to tax collectors and prostitutes on the one hand, and to the chief priests and elders on the other.  As a parable proclaimed at Holy Mass during Advent, the Church likely wants us also to consider this parable in terms of the two Testaments of the Bible. Continue reading

Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Zechariah 2:14-17  +  Luke 1:26-38
December 12, 2016

“‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers….’”

Today’s Responsorial is not taken from one of the psalms, but from the Old Testament Book of Judith.  The verses of the Responsorial, by which the Church praises Mary today, in their original setting praise the Old Testament heroine Judith.  In the thirteenth chapter you can read of Judith beheading the Assyrian general Holofernes, thus freeing her people from foreign control.  The praise that follows, which we hear in today’s Responsorial, is offered by Uzziah, the king of Judah. Continue reading

The 3rd Sunday of Advent

The Third Sunday of Advent [A]
Isa 35:1-6, 10  +  Jas 5:7-10  +  Mt 11:2-11
December 11, 2016

“The desert and the parched land will exult….” 

No one is prouder of his home state than I am.  But although I was born and reared as a Kansan, as I’ve had the chance to travel through other parts of the country, I’ve had to admit that the beauty of our state is not the same as that of other parts of the country.  The beauty of Kansas is simple, subtle, and understated.  It’s no wonder that when the first explorers came to this part of North America, their report to those back east labeled this area “The Great American Desert”. Continue reading

Sat. 2nd Week of Advent

Saturday of the Second Week of Advent
Sirach 48:1-4,9-11  +  Matthew 17:9,10-13
December 10, 2016

“Then the disciples understood that He was speaking to them of John the Baptist.” 

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus speaks of John the Baptist as Elijah.  Reflect on these two persons whom Jesus holds up to our attention.  What they have in common can help us prepare during this Advent season for Jesus. Continue reading

Fri. 2nd Week of Advent

Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Isaiah 48:17-19  +  Matthew 11:16-19
December 9, 2016

“Wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

Jesus criticizes the “crowds” for their lack of consistency.  The crowds criticize Jesus and John the Baptist for opposite reasons.  In other words, there is no pleasing the crowds.  If Calvary didn’t prove that Jesus is no populist, His words at the end of today’s Gospel passage do. Continue reading

The Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception of the BVM
Gen 3:9-15,20  +  Eph 1:3-6,11-12  +  Lk 1:26-38
December 8, 2016

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

Like the Assumption, our celebration of Mary’s Immaculate Conception tells us something very important about humanity:  that is, humanity as we were meant to be “in the beginning”.  Our belief that Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without Original Sin tells us as Catholics that Mary is exactly the type of human being God meant each of us to be.  In the words of St. Paul, “God chose us in him[,] before the world began, to be holy and blameless in his sight, to be full of love.” Continue reading

St. Ambrose of Milan

St. Ambrose, Bishop & Doctor of the Church
Isaiah 40:25-31  +  Matthew 11:28-30
December 7, 2016

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… and you will find rest.”

Today’s brief Gospel passage seems to have a simple message.  We might relate it to the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd:  He cares for us, His flock, and gives us rest.  That is why He is coming, and what we prepare for during Advent.  But there is another, different piece to this passage. Continue reading