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Reclaiming Thanksgiving... an article and an observation...

A very interesting article was posted to our daily Angelus News today. Everyone should read this one... Reclaiming Thanksgiving by Dr. Barbara Golder, MD, JD
As Catholics the idea of Thanksgiving is in our DNA... it is an integral part of the Mass, and it calls to how we celebrate everything... with a Mass followed by a feast!
I have to admit, however, that I've got some mixed feelings on this article. Dr. Golder is quite correct in stating that "modern secular society would like to expunge the very notion of religion from our history," but she does continue to recognize that "the fabric of American life is tied up with religious life, thought and expression." How do we reconcile these two seemingly competing ideals?
It is true that secular society goes out of its way to sanitize God and religiosity from our common experience, particularly with holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas who's roots are religious. Not only that, secular society has always be…
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The Christmas Season? How about reclaiming Advent!

It's only been a couple weeks since we celebrated Halloween, and we still have a week to go before Thanksgiving, but by all other measures of secular society, we're on a fast train to the Christmas season.  KOST 103.5 FM has already begun their non-stop barrage of Christmas music, and all the retailers are gearing up for "black Friday,"  Which for many of these stores starts on Thanksgiving Thursday.  The frenzy of the Holidays is upon us, complete with the first house I saw last night on Clark Ave with their Christmas lights already up.  While I enjoy the holiday season just as much as anyone else, I still can't get past the fact that our secularized celebration of the season has it all wrong.

Allow me to explain... For us Catholics, we're nowhere near the Christmas season yet.  For the moment, we're still celebrating Ordinary Time.  We've put All Saints Day and All Souls Day behind us, and as Church in the United States we're preparing for Thank…

33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

God the Father has endowed us with many gifts.  Not only does scripture recommend that we give thanks for these (as in our readings from Proverbs and Psalms), but it recommends that these gifts must be put to use for the greater good and the love of God.

The Word for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
1 Thessalonians 5:1-6
Matthew 25:14-30

We open with a reading from the book of Proverbs.  This book falls within the category of “wisdom literature” in the Bible.  Like it’s other wisdom book counterparts, it is a collection of wise sayings used as a type of “catechism” to teach right living in the eyes of God.  Proverbs is thought to originate during the period of the Monarchy, but doesn’t reach its final form until the post-exilic period.  Our passage for this coming Sunday gives us the example of the value of a “worthy wife,” and how we should honor that value.  “Wisdom” in this period is considered more practical than theolo…

32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

With Halloween behind us, it seems the secular world is ready to push us into the Christmas season.  But hold on, I say.  Not only do we still have Thanksgiving to attend to, but the entire season of Advent is still before us.  So a little patience.  There's no need to get sucked up into the frenzy that is secular Christmas... at least not until you're ready.  For there is plenty else in front of us for which we need to prepare.  And preparedness, patience, and persistence are topics we'll be facing in this week's readings...

Be prepared.  Our world is full of uncertainty.  Anything could happen at any time that can affect our lives, either personally, locally, or globally.  As Southern Californians, we live with the constant threat of the next big earthquake (in between all the fires, flash-floods, and traffic accidents), and we’re taught regularly what we need to do in the case of a disaster.  But what of our spiritual lives?  Are we prepared for the nex…

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

Practice what you preach.  This is the warning from our readings this week.  While pointed specifically at the religious leaders of the community, these warnings also serve as a reminder for us, that we too much not become complacent in our duties to the Lord. 

The Word for the 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time: Malachi 1:14b-1:2b, 8-10
Psalm 131:1, 2, 3
1 Thessalonians 2:7b-9, 13
Matthew 23:1-12

We open with a reading from the prophet Malachi, who’s career began a few generations after the return from Babylon.  Malachi sees a priesthood that has lost its way, and through that, caused the people to falter.  The prophet condemns them and reminds them that is God who created us and with whom we have our covenant. 

Our Psalm helps those priests (and all of us) to focus back on what’s important as we sing, “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.”  When we turn to the Lord in humility, we find peace and hope.

Our second reading picks up on that theme of a caring mother found in our Psalm a…

30th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is the measure of a person?  From a Biblical perspective, it’s how you treat others.  In fact, the Scriptures are quite consistent on this point.  From the Mosaic Law Code in Exodus, to the teachings of the prophets, to the parables of Jesus, to the teachings of Paul and the Apostles, we are constantly reminded about how a God-loving people are expected to act toward one another.  Our readings for this coming Sunday provide us the best examples of this most important teaching:

The Word for the 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Exodus 22:20-26
Psalm 18:2-3, 3-4, 47, 51
1 Thessalonians 1:5c-10
Mathew 22:34-40

We open with a reading from the book of Exodus.  When we think of the Exodus, we always remember the Ten Commandments, but we tend to forget that these Ten are just the beginning of the Law code.  Just as with the preamble to the Constitution for the US, there’s a whole lot more that follows, providing the nuts-and-bolts (the context and applications) of how this new Covena…

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Who is God and what do we owe him?  The answer to both questions is “everything.”  This question has its origins in the 1st Commandment, “I am the Lord your God… there is no other.”  But what does that mean to us on a practical level?  In short, it is God whom we thank for everything we have, and because of this, it is only to God whom we owe our allegiance.

The Word for the 29th Sunday of Ordinary Time: Isaiah 45:1, 4-6
Psalm 96:1, 3, 4-5, 7-8, 9-10
1 Thessalonians 1:1-5b
Mathew 22:15-21

We open with a reading from the book of the prophet Isaiah… in this case, “Deutero” or Second Isaiah.  The Exile is coming to an end.  The Babylonian Empire has fallen to the Persians and now Cyrus, whom we know as Cyrus the Great, has been, according to Isaiah, anointed by God.  Cyrus?  A pagan?  A foreign king?  Yes.  How could this be?  Simple… God can choose whomever he wishes.  The hand God chose to free Israel from her Exile was in fact the hand of Cyrus, the king of the Persian Empire, …