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Showing posts from December, 2016

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

Normally on the First Sunday of Christmas we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but since this Sunday is New Years Day, we defer to the celebration that is traditional to the 1st of January, which is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.


The Word for the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Numbers 6:22-27
Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
Galatians 4:4-7
Luke 2:16-21

Our first reading comes from the book of Numbers.  The book of Numbers, a second re-telling of the Exodus story (after Leviticus), takes its name from the census that was taken of the Hebrew people, one at the beginning of the Exodus, and one at the end.  This passage, from the early part of the book, is the priestly blessing given to the people of Israel, and remains a popular blessing to this day.  On the occasion of celebrating the Blessed Virgin Mary, it reminds us that Mary was beloved of God for being willing to take on the task of bearing and raising his son.  While our Psalm reflec…

The Nativity of the Lord

It is fairly well known that the word “Christmas” is derived from the Middle English “Christ’s Mass.”  While this name for the holiday still resonates with most people today, this name, along with many of its modern traditions are derived from England and English speaking countries.  But even though the name is fairly modern, the purpose of the celebration, giving recognition to the birth of Jesus, or the Nativity, goes back to the early 4th century.  In pagan Rome, it was not unusual to celebrate the birthdays of their gods.  The early Christians, therefore, in an ironic twist, took this opportunity to celebrate the day when our God was born into this world as a man.  To this day the celebration of the birth of Our Lord remains a major feast day, but the Church has begun to abandon the old Middle English name for the holiday in favor of a more accurate translation of the old Latin name for the feast:  The Nativity of the Lord.


The Word for the Nativity of the Lord (Vigil)

The Need for Religious Literacy... For Everyone

Jesuit Father James Martin posted this article on his Facebook page yesterday:

Academics and Journalists Unite Against Fake News


This article from America magazine (the Jesuit news magazine for which Fr. Martin is an editor and contributor) focused primarily on this latest craze of "fake news."  No, not the type of "fake news" that Jon Stewart raised to high art on The Daily Show, but rather how people are now digesting "news" from outlets of questionable repute, and how even major news outlets are using these same questionable sources without the necessary fact-checking and analysis which was a hallmark of journalism for decades.  What this discussion on "fake news" also revealed is how many journalists, and journalism itself, is so poorly informed on religion and the key elements of different religious faith traditions.

This isn't just a problem for journalism, its a problem for our whole society.

To be fair, misinformation about religious…

4th Sunday of Advent

Throughout this season of advent we have been focused on the ancient prophecy of the coming of a messiah, and how in Jesus we have the fulfillment of that prophecy.  This Fourth Sunday of Advent is no different as we read more about what to expect with the coming of this savior:


The Word for the 4th Sunday of Advent Isaiah 7:10-14
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Romans 1:1-7
Mathew 1:18-24

Our first reading is again from the book of the prophet Isaiah.  This week we go back to an earlier time where King Ahaz is in trouble.  The Assyrian Empire is on the move.  The Northern Kingdom of Israel is under threat and King Ahaz of Judah is concerned that Jerusalem and his kingdom are next.  Rival forces are converging on Jerusalem so Isaiah is called by the Lord to go and meet with Ahaz and begs him to stand firm in his faith in the Lord.  Ahaz, on the other hand, is more comfortable putting his trust in the might of the Assyrians.  Our passage this Sunday picks up the story.  The Lord is upse…

It's About Time: Marriage Formation

File this under "It's About Time!"

I was reading through the daily email I get from the Angelus, our updated Archdiocesan newspaper and multi-media platform.  In today's email there was a link to an article entitled, "Why Does Catholic Marriage Prep Fail?"

This article, discussing how our current process of Marriage preparation falls far short of forming young couples for the vocation of a Sacramental marriage, referenced another very good article entitled, "Synod Fathers Call for Ending Pre-Cana in Favor of More Intensive Marriage Preparation."

Finally!  Our Church leaders are speaking out about the sorry state of marriage preparation!

If you follow this blog, you no doubt came across my posting from this past September:
http://ourladyofrefugercia.blogspot.com/2016/09/marriage-and-confirmation-so.html

In the months since, however, I've come to realize that the problem is even worse than I thought.  By way of example, let me walk you through a …

3rd Sunday of Advent

Patience.  Good things are coming, and are almost here, so Rejoice!  This is Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin “to rejoice”), the Third Sunday of Advent.  We celebrate that we are now past the halfway point of the Advent season.  For this one day we put away the violet color of Advent and bring out the Rose colored vestments and d├ęcor.  We light the rose colored candle in our Advent wreaths as we joyfully count the remaining days to Christmas.  Our readings remind us of the good things to come, but good things only come to those who wait…


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Advent Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10
Psalm 146, 6-7, 8-9, 9-10
James 5:7-10
Mathew 11:2-11

Our first reading, again, is from Isaiah.  Here the prophet sings of the great things to come, and the land itself will rejoice and bloom.  Isaiah goes to great lengths to paint us this glorious picture of Zion, but we must also recognize that this picture of salvation comes as destruction stands waiting at the gate.  King Hezekiah has t…