Monday, December 29, 2008

Feast of the Holy Family

Sir 3:2-6, 12-14
Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Lk 2:22-40

The family has great power. It is after all the basic building block of our society. The family is where we learn about relationships, where we learn to get along with others. The family is where we learn to share, or not. Our family is where we are formed, where we are shaped. Our family goes a long way in determining what kind of person we become. Hopefully, most of us come from families that are loving and nurturing, which is what a family should be. Our family is where we should be able to go when we need help, when things aren’t going well for us. As those who read this blog often know, this past year has not been one of my best. Yet in my need I was able to turn to my family. My wife, my daughter, mother, sisters, brother, all of my family helped me to get through the trials of this year. I think, however that we need to re-examine our definition of family. During this year I have been supported close friends, people who were present for me and my family. These friends are family. But there is another family that I was able to turn to, the family of this faith community, this parish.
In the Gospel today Mary and Joseph, this newly formed family, this Holy Family, present Jesus in the Temple as the law requires. In the Temple is a man named Simeon, a man who has been promised that he will not die until he sees the Christ. When Jesus is brought into the Temple he immediately recognizes him. Simeon turns to Mary and says, “my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” Simeon is letting Mary, Joseph, and all of us know that this child’s family is much larger than just the Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This child’s family reaches out to all of us, and all of us are invited to be a part of this family. Our shared faith in the Christ makes us members of this family. We are called to be a place of love and nurturing care for everyone in this family of faith. We are called to care for one another and then to extend that care beyond our own community to those who do not belong. We are called to live lives of invitation, lives that invite those outside to come in. We are called to open our faith family, so that we serve a larger family, the human family, so we may indeed be a holy family.

Deacon John
Feast of the Holy Family
Dec. 28, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Is 9:1-6
Ti 2:11-14
Lk 2:1-14

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;upon those who dwelt in the land of glooma light has shone.”
We have walked in darkness. We have stumbled about, uncertain of where we are, where we are going, or how to get there. We stumble about in a darkness of our own making. We stumble about in a darkness brought about by our greed, our envy, our lust, our hate. We become ill, and live in the darkness of self-pity. We live in the darkness of our sin, failing to realize that we do not have to. The light of the Son has come, the light that can lead us, guide us out of the darkness we have created, into the light of beauty and freedom and peace. Today we celebrate the arrival of that Light, of the Son-Light that shows us the path. The path illuminated for us leads us to the only place we truly desire. The path illuminated for us by the Light of the Son takes us home, to the one who made us. We celebrate the coming of the Light, the Light that dispels all darkness, the Light that frees us, the Light that makes it possible for us to join the heavenly host in proclaiming,
“Glory to God in the highestand on earth peace to those on whom God’s favor rests.”
May this season bring you light and peace
Deacon John
Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Third Sunday in Advent

Is 61:1-2a, 10-11
1 Thes 5:16-24
Jn 1:6-8, 19-28

You’ve done this, I’ve done this, we have all done this. You see someone walking down the street and you are certain that that is an old friend, so you rush up to them, say their name, only to have then turn and reveal that this is not the person you thought. It’s a complete stranger. Embarrassed, you mutter an apology and turn away. The Levites, priests and Pharisees saw a man, a man crying in the wilderness, and they thought they knew who he was. They were, however, mistaken. John clearly tells them, I am not the Christ. Instead of turning away, however, they ask well then, just who are you? Are you Elijah? Are you the Prophet? Who sent you? John replies that as Isaiah said, he is the voice of one crying, make straight the way of the Lord. He is the forerunner of one those questioning him do not recognize. John plainly tells them there is one among you you do not recognize, one whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie. John’s questioners will fail to recognize Christ in their midst. It’s a failure we all too often share. As we prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ, as we prepare for Christ’s return, do we recognize Christ in our midst? In the single mother, struggling to care for her family, do we recognize Christ? In the person with mental challenges who tests our patience, do we recognize Christ? In that person that for whatever reason we just can’t stand, do we recognize Christ? In our spouses, our children, our parents, our families, doe we recognize Christ? In our friends, do we recognize Christ? Christ is in our midst, in these people. It is here that we must recognize Christ, or we will not recognize him in that infant we celebrate, or the in the one who is coming again.
Deacon John
Third Sunday in Advent
Dec. 14, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Second Sunday in Advent

Is 40:1-5, 9-11
2 Pt 3:8-14
Mk 1:1-8

In 1869 two rails met in Utah, one coming from the east, the other from the west. The meeting of theses rails tied America together by train. This did not just happen. It took much planning, and much preparation. The course of the rails had to be laid out, the route decided upon. Those coming from the west had mountains to contend with. They literally had to make crooked ways straight, fill in the valleys and level the hills. Surveyors had to lead the way, prepare the way, so the rails could meet. They prepared the way, but the work still had to be done. People still had to lay the track, put the ties in place, drive the spikes that held it all together. Only when the work was done could the dream of a transcontinental rail system become a reality.
John the Baptizer served as a surveyor. He cried out in the wilderness, showing the path that we must follow. He showed us the route, but the work still must be done. The way of the Lord must be made ready by us. We are the laborers, we must make straight the crooked paths, we must fill in the valleys and level the mountains and hills, of our souls. We must do the work, the work necessary to make ourselves ready for the coming of the Lord. Our task is often difficult, we have many obstacles, many mountains to contend with. It is, however, work well worth the effort. Advent offers us the time to hear John’s call, to begin following the path he surveyed for us, to make the crooked straight, to fill in the valleys and level the mountains, to make ready in our hearts the way of the One who came, and will come again.

Deacon John
The Second Sunday in Advent
Dec. 7, 2008