Thanks be to God we have entered a new year of 2021. The past year was pretty tough. Still, we surely have much for which to be thankful to God always. Let us pray this new year is a better year, that we can live in peace and security, that we can be safe and healthy, that the vaccines and other efforts will stop the pandemic and we will soon be able to resume normal gatherings and life, that we may freely practice our faith and do many acts of love, and that God may be greater loved and adored.
Merry Christmas and Happy Feast Day of the Holy Family! When we think of the Holy Family, we remember all three members, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. I’d like to focus some attention on St. Joseph since he is the one of this trio we are most likely to forget about. Hopefully you have heard that Pope Francis has declared this year from December 8, 2020 till December 8, 2021 to be the Year of St. Joseph. The timing is significant as it is the 150th anniversary of Blessed Pius IX declaring St. Joseph as Patron of the Catholic Church. Plus, St.
Happy fourth Week of Advent and an early Merry Christmas! Since we won’t have an extra bulletin for Christmas, I will use this to convey a Christmas greeting of joy, peace, and glory to God. That was the original greeting delivered by angels on the original Christmas:
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” so sayeth William Shakespeare in his play, “Romeo and Juliet." The liturgical color for the third Sunday of Advent is technically “rose,” but what exactly is the color “rose,” what does it mean, and why can’t we just call it “pink”? I decided to study this super-important-for-our-faith issue a couple years ago and share my findings here. The liturgical colors are very old and traditions go way back, but they were officially codified in 1570 to be like they are now.
Advent is real. We might be tempted to think of Advent simply as a pre-season of Christmas or a big Christmas countdown. Or we might be tempted to think of Advent as a sort of play-acting where we pretend to be in the time before Christ and imagine what that was like. But Advent is indeed as real for us today as it was the centuries before Christ. We long and hope for Jesus the Messiah to come. We need a Savior just as much. It is true that our redemption by Jesus is complete by His birth, life, death and resurrection, but it is not complete for us.
I had to write this about two weeks ahead of time due to Thanksgiving and publishing requirements so a lot may have changed, but then again a lot has changed since last year in Advent. How do we do Advent and Christmas during the Coronavirus Pandemic? As best we can, and maybe better than ever if we try hard and are open to things being a bit different. Maybe this year will be a bit more like the original — a little less polished and far less fanfare, but more simple and sincere.
Happy 34th Sunday, Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! This is the last Sunday of the Church year. We begin a new Church year with Advent next week.
On this feast of Christ the King we are specially encouraged to remember the importance of religious freedom. We acknowledge publicly the reign of Christ over all the world. Religious freedom is a right we must celebrate and defend—the freedom to live and practice our faith not just privately, but respectfully in the public square as well.
Happy 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time! We have only one Sunday yet left before we begin a new cycle beginning with Advent. As we end the liturgical cycle the theme goes that way as well to the “Last Things” of death, judgment, heaven, and hell. This Sunday we get the parable of the talents. Next Sunday, Jesus speaks on judgment, the separating of sheep and goats, and says “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
In November, the Church especially remembers those who have died and prays for them. I always kind of thought the praying part was most important, but in my All Souls’ Day homily I reflected on how important and holy it is to remember. I share some scripture passages with comments.
We celebrate All Saints’ Day this Sunday, November 1. In this, we celebrate all the saints in heaven, especially those not officially canonized, including any of our loved ones who have died and are among the blessed in heaven. The following day, Monday, November 2, is All Souls’ Day, and we remember all those who have died and especially all the souls in purgatory. The whole month of November really reminds us of the importance of remembering the dead and praying for the souls in purgatory.