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3rd Sunday of Advent

“Shout for Joy!”  The opening lines of our first reading express the feelings we should be having during this third Sunday of Advent.  Also known as Gaudete Sunday (Latin for “rejoice”).  We celebrate because we have now past the half-way point of our penitent reflection… the “hump day” of Advent, if you will.  What have we to be so joyful about?  Our readings provide the answer…

The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent
Zephaniah 3:14-18a
Psalm 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke3:10-18

Our first reading comes from the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah.  Though we don’t hear from Zephaniah very often in our Sunday Liturgies, and though the book itself isn’t that long (only 3 chapters), the importance of his message can be seen in his predecessors Jeremiah and Baruch, and may even have had a profound effect on the Judean monarchy itself by moving King Josiah to begin his campaign of religious reform.  Our passage this week, though similar to the passages we heard from both Jeremiah a…
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2nd Sunday of Advent

A promise fulfilled!  This is the promise of Advent.  This is the promise of Christ.  As we begin our new Liturgical cycle with this season of Advent, we take a lesson from the prophets: that our hope for salvation will be fulfilled.  How do I know this?  Let’s look at our readings for this week…

The Word for the 2nd Sunday of Advent
Baruch 5:1-9
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Luke 3:4, 6

Our first reading is from the Book of Baruch, who was an assistant to the prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember from our readings last week, is one of the prophets of the Babylonian Exile.  The Book of Baruch is reflective of that same period, though unlike the Book of Jeremiah, no known Hebrew version of this book has been found, making it one of the Bible’s Deuterocanonical books (those included in the Catholic Bible, but not the Hebrew or Protestant Bibles).  In our passage for this week, Jerusalem (currently in Exile) is told to “take off your robe of mournin…

1st Sunday of Advent

When we celebrate the secular New Year, we like to reminisce about the past year while looking anxiously ahead to the year ahead.  With this first Sunday of Advent the Church rings in the new year in much the same way... remembering how God promised to send us a Savior and the memory of that fulfillment through Jesus Christ, and looking forward to the time when Christ will return.  It is a season of anticipation and hope!

The Word for the 1st Sunday of Advent
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Our first reading comes from the book of the Prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah, as we may remember, came to his calling under the great reformer King Josiah, but after seeing his king fall in the battle of Megiddo and the subsequent failure of the Kingdom to maintain it's devotion to God, he turned his prophecy to warnings of the coming fall of Jerusalem and the subsequent Exile.  But even as he saw the fall of the Kingdom, he also fores…

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

The celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King marks the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.  Although being one of the newest feast days on the Church calendar, having been established by Pope Pius XI in 1925, its importance in the life of Christians should not be overlooked nor taken lightly.  While this may be a relatively new solemnity for the Church, it’s roots run quite deep, as our readings will show:

The Word for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe
Daniel 7:13-14
Psalm 93:1, 1-2, 5
Revelation 1:5-8
John 18:33b-37

Our first reading comes from the Book of Daniel.  As I wrote last week, the Book of Daniel is to the Hebrew Scriptures what the Book of Revelation is to the Christian scriptures.  Our passage this week sounds as if it could be coming from Revelation, as we hear about Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man, being received by God and being granted dominion over all creation.  Whether you read this from a Jewish perspective or from a Christ…

The Secular Holiday Season... not necessarily our holiday season

Why do I say the "secular" holiday season?  I think we're all aware of how our Christian celebration of Christmas has been taken over by commercial interests.  But you know what... I don't mind.  If these secular celebrations offer even a hint of how this divine infant came into the world to save us all, and the world learns for a moment the value of love and charity, it's a good thing.  And I see no problem with us as good Christians joining in the revelry of the secular holiday season.  I do think, however, that we need to keep everything in proper perspective and remind ourselves of our uniquely Catholic understanding (and timing) of these celebrations... to not get caught up in the secular interpretation and modes of celebration and embrace a more Catholic approach.
The Catholic approach begins with giving full recognition to the season of Advent.  While the secular world is already gearing up for the holidays, Advent, which begins December 2nd…

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

Our journey through Ordinary Time is almost at an end.  Next week we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (or simply, Christ the King), marking the last Sunday of the Liturgical Year.  In our readings, Jesus also knows the end is near.  We have spent this long stretch of Ordinary Time walking with Jesus and his disciples through the Gospel, and now, nearing the city of Jerusalem for the last time, our thoughts turn to the end times…
The Word for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time
Daniel 12:1-3
Psalm 16:5, 8, 9-10, 11
Hebrews 10:11-14, 18
Mark 13:24-32

Our first reading comes from the book of Daniel.  Daniel is to the Hebrew Scriptures what the book of Revelation is to the Christian Scriptures… a prophet’s dream-like vision of the end of days, where the righteous will be saved and the unrighteous are condemned to Hell.  The book of Daniel isn’t a prophetic book, but rather more like the book of Job, taking its name from the story’s hero.  While Da…

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

As members of the Church we are taught to give of our time, our talents, and our treasure in service to the Gospel.  But how much is enough?  Scripture is quite clear on this subject… this is an “all in” proposition, as our readings this week tell us:

The Word for the 32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time
1 Kings 17:10-16
Psalm 146:7, 8-9, 9-10
Hebrews 9:24-28
Mark 12:38-44

Our first reading comes from the 1st Book of Kings.  In our passage Israel is suffering a great drought, and the great prophet Elijah is on the run from King Ahab.  He comes to the gates of Zarephath, a city North of Israel between the cities of Tyre and Sidon.  There he meets a widow and her son.  Tired and thirsty from his journey, he asks the widow for some water and some bread, whereupon we learn that they too are suffering, having only enough flour and oil to last one more day.  Elijah asks her again to make him some bread with the promise that the Lord will make sure that her jars of flour and oil will no t run …