As I was growing up in Puerto Rico, the celebration of John the Baptist took many different forms… but always brought us closer to water! In an island that is difficult to avoid! I remember going to celebrate the Eucharist right on the beach… that was the religious part! I also remember going to the river and even opening the fire hydrants on the streets… we just wanted to get wet as we remembered the Baptist…
The solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ brings our focus back to the source and summit of our Christian life, which is the Eucharist. It is the center of our faith because it is Christ himself being present in the Eucharist.
Rachel Carson, a famous author of a few years ago, was once quoted as follows:
1. When I look at the beauty of the world and see the mountains and the valleys, the ocean and the sky. I am reminded that I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.
2. When I read about bloodshed and violence and see murder and hatred, stress and strife, selfishness and phoniness. I am reminded that I believe in Jesus Christ who, for our sake. Was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
3. And when I feel the wind in my face and the freedom of the fresh country breeze, or a walk at sunset, I am reminded that I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life.
When we see a Nativity set we can immediately identify the key players: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds with their sheep as well as the obligatory cow oblivious to what is going on. We also encounter the three strangely over-dressed visitors who seem so out of place for such a humble spot. The song we sing calls them three kings yet that misses the mark.
When was the last time someone promised you something that was never fulfilled? … Or how many times have you made promises that you never kept? It seems to me that the readings during these days speak to us about promises… but promises that have been fulfilled!
Today we celebrate the conclusion of another liturgical year. We have systematically celebrated the gift of God’s self-giving love to us humans, restoring us to a state wherein we can achieve the original Divine design for us … participation in God’s life of love.
Great things can happen on mountain tops. And great things can happen on the plains below as well. Today’s gospel has great things happening in both places.
First, the mountain top. In a totally unexpected gesture, Jesus gives a brief glimpse of his full person to three of his disciples, Peter, James and John.
In his encyclical on the Church as Mother and Teacher (Mater et Magistra), Pope St. Juan XXIII asked us to look at the world, to judge the circumstances in the light of the values of the gospel, and then to act so that the world is transformed into something closer to the reality of God’s plan. This process of See-Judge-Act is especially helpful as we celebrate today one of the great solemnities of the Church, the Body and Blood of Christ, Corpus Christi.
I have often heard priests say that Trinity Sunday is the most difficult Sunday of the year on which to preach! That has not been my experience at all during my 47 years of priestly ministry. I think that the problem is that many preachers focus on what the theologian Karl Rahner calls the immanent Trinity, that is the mystery of Godhead that God in Godself is. This mystery is excellent fodder for the ruminations of theologians but is not truly helpful “for us and for our salvation.”
Today we celebrate Pentecost. The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes the event for us: there was a noise like a strong diving wind and it filled the entire house. Tongues as of fire appeared and came to rest on those in the house. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak as the Spirit enabled them.
One of my fondest childhood memories is of my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike on the church parking lot. In retrospect, a paved venue was probably a poor choice, considering the number of times I came in sudden contact with the ground, and also given that this was well before the days of protective headwear. Still, it was a wonderful experience...
How is your prayer life at this time? When you go into the silence of your room or when you come earlier into this Church and place yourself, once again in all humility before God, what do you pray for? Very often we pray for our families and our relatives; we pray for people who are sick and for those who suffer, especially those we know. We come in humility before a God who listens to us...
Many of you will remember celebrating Corpus Christi. There was often a procession with incense and singing. Those of you who went to parish schools probably remember how much preparation the Sisters put into that procession. The way we celebrate may have changed, but today is the same feast of the Church.
As I get older, I find a growing desire to “see” God. I am not talking about “believing” in God. I do believe that an Infinite God exists and that He has come to earth in the person of Jesus. Jesus has revealed a lot about God and I believe what He revealed. But I desire a deeper relational experience of God in here and now. Perhaps you do too.
In the study of behavioral analysis, there is a theory that positive reinforcement is an effective way to increase the probability of a particular desirable behavior to be repeated or continued. Today we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the last day of the liturgical season of Christmas. In the Gospel of Luke, we hear of the tremendous and fascinating account of Jesus being baptized by John.
Upon entering a house during the Christmas season, we always take note of a few things, the various lights and decorations, most especially the Christmas tree and how it is decorated. Usually somewhere around the house, displayed somewhere in a prominent place, is a Nativity set. They come in various shapes, sizes, colors, cultures. But what makes up a Nativity set, what is essential for the Nativity scene?