Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Deacon Gary Bockweg has prepared a reflection for all of us today. It is the sermon he will be preaching this Sunday at St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Irangot a lot of attention a few months ago
By saying that the Holocaust
Others on the radical
fringe—including some Christians—agree.
They profess that belief
despite the overwhelming evidence that it’s untrue.
The testimony of witnesses,
the movies and photos taken by the liberators.
The records kept by the Nazis
We can’t judge how genuine
the belief of those radicals might be.
But we know that deep faith
is a powerful force.
Even if that belief is mistaken.
The rest of us have no doubt
that the Holocaust really did happen.
Nearly 6 million Jews – wiped
In a methodical plan to engineer
the extermination of all the Jews in Europe.
Considering today’s reading
We might wonder just how that
Holocaust was allowed to happen.
Didn’t God make promises to David?
I will fix a place for my people Israel
Where they may dwell without disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked afflict them.
I will raise up your heir after you.
He shall be a son to me.
And your kingdom shall endure forever.
When we look at the evidence
Those look like empty
The Holocaust was about as
extreme a disturbance and affliction as we can imagine.
And of course, that’s just one
Endless afflictions have
plagued the Jews throughout history.
As for a kingdom that will
The Jews were already a
subjugated people long before Jesus was born.
So what are we to make of
In our Gospel, Luke tells of
Gabriel’s message to Mary.
Mary’s child, Jesus, will be
the Son of the Most High.
He will be the Messiah.
God will give him the throne
of David, his father.
And his kingdom will have no
But then, Jesus himself is severely
afflicted and disturbed by the wicked.
And he fails to meet the
expectations of those looking for a powerful earthly kingdom.
He’s not the type of messiah
the people had hoped for.
It looks like the promises
made to Mary are empty too.
But surely, God does keep His
So there must be some deeper
Paul helps us toward an
answer when he speaks (in our second reading)
Of the revelation of the mystery kept secret for long ages.
The mystery that was revealed
through the coming, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
We’re fortunate to have
already received that revelation.
The mystery revealed by Jesus
Through his life and his
That indeed the Kingdom is
real and will never end.
That not only the Jews, but
all of God’s people, will find peace there.
Peace from disturbance and
We can now understand, as
those who lived before Jesus’ revelations could not,
That the Kingdom is not of
Jesus revealed that he came
to open that Kingdom to us.
To establish its beginnings.
To show us the way.
And he revealed that he will
come again to reign over that Kingdom forever.
We already understand at some
And believe at some level
That the Kingdom awaits us.
And that when Jesus comes
again we can enter fully into it.
But that’s not all the Good
News of God’s promises.
It’s true that the Kingdom is
not of this world.
But it’s also true that we
are not entirely of this world.
We can’t yet fully enter into
But we can, even now, enter
to some extent.
We can already enjoy some of
its protection from disturbance and affliction.
The more deeply we believe in
the truth of the Kingdom,
The more deeply we understand
that the disturbances and afflictions of this world
Pale in comparison to the
joys of the Kingdom.
And with that understanding
we enter more deeply into the Kingdom
And we enjoy real relief from
the disturbances and afflictions of this world.
So, God’s promise offers even
more immediate relief than we might expect.
In our few remaining days of
As we prepare and wait to
celebrate Jesus’ first coming 2000 years ago,
We also prepare and wait for
his second coming.
And, as Mary pondered the
words of Gabriel,
We can ponder the promise of
And as we ponder, we may well
find that we are entering deeper into the Kingdom.
Friday, December 19, 2008
The fourth antiphon brings our attention to Christ's power which is made evident in Matthew 16:19 where Jesus speaks to Peter about the power of the keys. The "You are Peter and upon this Rock ... etc." can be understood more clearly after a reading of Isaiah 22. In that chapter the prophet wrote:
I will place the Key of the House of David on his shoulder;
when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.
Here the key of the House of David is conferred upon Eliakim as a symbol of full authority in the Kingdom of Juda. Jesus' use of the phrase with Peter to express his intention of conferring on him the supreme authority of his Church.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
come to save us without delay!
A close study of Old Testament history will make clear that a miraculous birth of a child is intimately linked to people of importance in the Israelite story. Today we hear of the miraculous encounters with an angel making known to Manoah and his unnamed and barren wife of their future. No doubt the birth of John the Baptist comes to mind.
An unusual aspect of these events was that the mother would be expected to dedicate her only born child, a son, to the service of God. The angel told the parents the child was to be a nazirite -- not someone from Nazareth but a person who gave some or all of his life to divine service. As well, a nazirite would not have his hair cut nor would he take wine or strong drink.
So Samson was born and became the so-called strongest man in the bible, saving the Isrealites from the Philistine army's attack. Samson confronted the political oppression of the people. John the Baptist prepared the people to make ready for the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.
The third "O Antiphon" reminds of the fulfillment of Isaiah's words "there shall be a Root of Jesse" (Is. 11:1-10). Recall that Jesse was the father of David and he lived in Bethlehem. Jesus we know was of Davidic lineage, recalled in the gospel of the first day of the octave.
From our parish on Capitol Hill, let us pray for the men and women who daily work in serving the Church -- bishops, priests, deacons, men and women in consecrated life as well as the laity. We pray for their continued work in bringing the message of the Messiah to the people of God in today's world. As well, let us pray for parents to be generous in offering encouragement to their children to consider a life of service in and to the Church.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Celebrating this Eucharistic Liturgy of Gaudete Sunday, we may feel encouraged to rejoice, as the Latin verb commands us. However, the readings, especially the gospel, are far from genuine rejoicing. The words of John the Baptist are a direct assault upon the loves of some, if not many, of the people who were drawn to his roadside preaching. Someone once told me about a bumper sticker seen on a car. These are the words: There is a God ... and it is not you. Repeat the words to yourself.