Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time. The Gospel is Mark 1:40-45.
We live in an age of programs. I was talking with a young man the other day who was telling me about a new workout program that is extremely intense but only lasts 25 minutes. Everyday we hear of a new diet program. Even in the Church we hear of program after program. Yet, what if we were told, “here is a program from God Himself”. It contains seven steps, and each of these is extremely helpful for living a close relationship with Jesus Christ, and through Him, living in a close and deep relationship with the Holy Spirit and the Father.
Wouldn’t that be something? (more…)
I remember when I spent my first summer in Johnstown as a seminarian. I remember being struck by one thing about Johnstown which seemed very different from my hometown. Families. Grandmas, Grandpas, aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles. Cousins. People had roots here.
Today’s guest writer is St Bernard of Clairvoux, whose writing appears in the Office of Readings for December 19:
The image is The Annunciation (1644), by Philippe de Champaigne (1602-1674)
From a homily In Praise of the Virgin Mother by Saint Bernard, abbot
(Hom. 4:8-9; Opera omnia, Edit Cisterc 4. , 53-54)
The whole world awaits Mary’s reply
You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us. (more…)
You may have noticed a little different color scheme today! Yes, the Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday. Thus the color of the vestments is rose–the color of hope. Traditionally in the liturgy, today is also the one day that flowers are allowed and the organ is played. This comes from the entrance antiphon for the Mass:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.”
This comes from the original latin: “Gaudete in Domino semper Dominus prope est.” (more…)
Today is the feast of Saint Juan Diego. It was on December 9 that the Blessed Mother first appeared to him. Here is his biography taken from the Vatican website:
St Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin (1474-1548). Little is known about the life of Juan Diego before his conversion, but tradition and archaelogical and iconographical sources, along with the most important and oldest indigenous document on the event of Guadalupe, “El Nican Mopohua” (written in Náhuatl with Latin characters, 1556, by the Indigenous writer Antonio Valeriano), give some information on the life of the saint and the apparitions. (more…)
Nothing is impossible for God!
The words of the Angel Gabriel should ring in our ears as well. Nothing is impossible for God!
Not even sparing our Blessed Mother from falling into the state of original sin. This dogma of the Faith–something we must believe–was solemnly defined by Blessed Pius IX on December 8, 1854–“most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful” (Ineffabilis Deus). (more…)
As I drive through the area, it is not hard to see: people are already anticipating Christmas. Decorations are already up, and the stores are going wild. The Turkey from Thanksgiving didn’t even get a chance to go cold this year before the Christmas bonanza began. This isn’t surprising, considering some of the dark news: threats from North Korea and the seemingly endless stream of sexual harrassment suits. (more…)