Homily December 16, 2012 Third Sunday of Advent

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on December 11, 2012

The readings for today present the theme of rejoicing, peace. expectation, thanksgiving. Zephaniah’s passage today is the only positive passage found in the book of this so-called prophet of doom. The coming of the Lord and the hope involved is reason for joy. Israel putting negative sinful ways behind them will leave room for joy even in desperate times. Paul today is again talking to the Philippians and reminding them to get it together. They should be rejoicing in the Lord always. The persecution and the hard times they are experiencing and their internal difficulties and even Paul’s imprisonment didn’t seem like reasons to rejoice, but Paul was reminding them that the nearness of God was reason enough for rejoicing.
In the Gospel, Luke presents John the Baptist again this week as the preparer for Christ to come. He was a stark and startling figure coming at an unexpected time to the waiting Jews. So it is for us even today. It is a to open ourselves to a new beginning, to a realization of the Lord’s nearness and presence. Now IS a time to put aside our sinful and negative ways and feelings of guilt and to take up the joyfulness of the banquet of life Christ calls us to. Rejoice always in the Lord, rejoice always in each other. Did not Jesus tells us when two or three gather in his name, He is there. This is the reason for our joy and celebration. Even in our daily sometimes humdrum lives we should still rejoice in the Lord, we should rejoice in what we have. For what we have really is not things but each other. That is why we reach out so tirelessly to others in this Advent Christmas time and hopefully throughout the year.
Most importantly, as we reach out, we should seek those who have lost the joy of this time, who find the celebrations depressing who feel lost or lonely or separated for one reason or another. Who knows what can trigger the violence we’ve seen this week, but all the more we should be aware of the lost and lonely around us. Open up bring them into our loving community and try to bring the nearness of God to them. While anxieties and depression and worries remain, the Lord’s nearness puts all things in perspective and brings us to a true sense of thanksgiving and ultimately to our Eucharistic thanksgiving on Christmas.

Homily December 9, 2012 Second Sunday of Advent

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, ethics, inspirational, politics, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on December 6, 2012

Today, again we are reminded to prepare. Baruch was writing from a point of view of exile. He had a vision of a great procession of Peoples heading for Jerusalem. It would be a time when sins and transgressions would be forgiven. This cavalcade of people meant that no denomination or people had a monopoly on God. It would be presumptive to think it, but how often in history have people thought they had their own special inroad to God? Baruch’s call today was to put off mourning and return from exile to their home in Jerusalem, where they would find forgiveness, reconciliation and salvation. His is a spirit of messianic anticipation.

For the other two readings, it is good to note that Luke has divided history into three parts, the time before Christ, the time of Christ, and the time of the Church or after Christ. Mark puts John the Baptist in the time of Christ, but Luke puts him in the time before Christ. Thus we see today in Luke’s presentation, that he rolls out the details of the times and puts Jesus in the “middle of History”. John comes before him and connects to the bridge touching all time before and after. Even today we are experiencing the saving power of God and his love in the world. Jesus survives and calls us to continue and to spread his word even today. His work is incomplete in a sense until each one of us completes it in ourselves. Love is an ever-growing thing and thus will forever be a growing all-embracing thing. Paul prays today that our love may forever be increasing our knowledge and perception so as to discern whatever is of value so that we be pure and blameless for the day of Christ filled with righteousness coming from the same Jesus Christ.

Clearly then this time of History is the Church according to Luke. We are called to love and seek out and grow in knowledge and perception as time and science and all knowledge moves on. Paul is telling us the we must seek the value in what we learn as we grow and use it in such a way to remain righteous in Jesus Christ. As humanity moves forward then it becomes our task to sort out and learn what is of value to ourself and to humanity. Only through prayer and God’s help can we know these things. As John today is preparing the way for Jesus, so has Jesus prepared the way for us. He has given us the map to find our way, his Love. It is with this love that we must boldly move forward and keep going. Didn’t he tell us he is the way, the truth and the life. This is where we are called. His Words, the gospels, are the beginning of a journey a guide book, a map. Ours is to follow it and live the reality of that map.

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Homily December 2, 2012 First Sunday of Advent

Posted in christian, Christianity, church events, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on November 27, 2012

As we begin the new church year,our readings switch from Mark’s gospel and his quick paced approach to Luke’s gospel, which has a slow-paced orderly account of things the Christians of his time already knew. He was aware of Matthew and Mark. His ordering was his own and was a preparation and intertwining with his later work the Acts of the Apostles His intention seems to want to lead the reader into a spirit of prayer and deeper discipleship.

However, the liturgical year doesn’t open with the beginning of Luke’s gospel. It is Advent time and preparation and vigilance is the theme. So we return to the cataclysmic reminders of the last few weeks taken this time from Luke’s later chapters. The thought is familiar from Old Testament times also that redemption comes to those who are faithful and vigilant. Vigilance means be patient, settle down and let God come into our lives. catastrophes happen in all ages as we all know from recent times. They do remind us of our mortality and Christ’s coming. But in Advent we are preparing to celebrate Christ’s first coming.

World events around us are distracting, but our own activity can also be even more distracting, keeping us from seeing and absorbing what is the whole point of Christmas. Running around, buying gifts, doing all the urgent things the season seems to call for, does it really hit the mark of what we are about? The second reading urges us to put God’s plan into action, even if we don’t fully understand what it is to love and be loved. Carlo Carretto, the spiritual writer, suggests God is saying:”Be patient! Learn to wait—for each other, for love, for happiness, for God!” Are we rushing the season forgetting the spiritual?

Waiting doesn’t come easy. In fact, who likes to wait? We always seek out the shortest line or the fastest way out in a store. But I ask you should we seek the fastest way in our personal life? Are we patient enough to sit and just wait for God to come to us. Are we so busy we shut him out.
In the commercial world, Christmas is here and in fact started weeks ago and on Christmas, the stores will suddenly become Valentine’s day. We can’t let the waiting become the reality like that. Now is the time to prepare and to look into ourselves and move forward to a new beginning and find ways to expand our love. It doesn’t mean we should just stop and do nothing. But may I suggest you begin to set aside at least 10 minutes each day at which time you just silently put your self in God’s presence and ask for His love. But patience is essential for God has his own timetable for each one of us. Prayer and spirituality is a relationship, at times easy and sometimes not. God is always there, however we are not always ready for Him. Now is the time. Prepare for He is near.

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