Sunday, December 24, 2017

4th Sunday of Advent

Luke 1:26-38

Friends, our Gospel today introduces the most elevated creature: 
Mary, the Mother of God. The Church Fathers often made a 
connection between Eve, the mother of all the living, and Mary, 
the Mother of God and Mother of the Church. In fact, they saw her 
as "the new Eve," the one who undid the damage done by Eve.
The angel’s greeting to Mary is important here: "Hail Mary, full of 

grace." Mary is greeted as someone who is able to accept gifts. Eve 
and Adam grasped; Mary is ready to receive. And Mary’s reply is 
also significant: "How is this possible, for I do not know man?" 
There is nothing cowed about Mary.
The angel explains to Mary: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you 

and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…" At the heart 
of the spiritual life is the conviction that your life is not about you. 
The real spiritual life is about allowing oneself to be overwhelmed 
by the one who loves us. Mary is someone who is ready for the impossible, and this makes her the paradigm of discipleship. "Let it 
be done to me according to thy word." That’s an acquiescence to adventure.
Bishop Robert Barron

4th week of Advent - Peace

Friday, December 22, 2017


It's easy to think of ourselves as better than others.  We are too often critical of others without looking at our own faults and shortcomings.  Today our priest reminded us at our 6:30 am Mass to not think of ourselves as better Catholics because we go to 6:30 Mass, but to think about the fact that maybe we go to 6:30 Mass because we need it more than others may need it.  What a humbling thought.  We are not better than anyone else, but we need God more than others.  It's a good perspective to have indeed.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Are you Joyful?

Advent is a time of waiting. We find ourselves waiting for mail deliveries, for cooking and baking to come off the stove or out of the oven, for Christmas trees and guests to arrive. In his writings, St. Francis consistently counseled both patience and joy. He said, wisely: “We can never tell how patient or humble a person is when everything is going well with him. But when those who should cooperate with him do the exact opposite, then we can tell. A man has as much patience and humility as he has then, and no more. Let the brothers beware lest they show themselves outwardly gloomy and sad hypocrites; but let them show themselves joyful in the Lord, cheerful and suitably gracious.”

- Excerpt from Advent with St. Francis: Daily Reflections

3rd week of Advent - Joy

Sunday, December 10, 2017


If ever there was a time for mysticism, Advent is it. This is a time of waiting for something that many people believe to be nonsense. A time of waiting for ancient prophecies to be fulfilled and for humanity to be saved.

Frederick Buechner has written in numerous works about mysticism within Christianity, affirming that “we are all more mystics than we think.” He writes,

In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment
(Buechner, Frederick, Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith. Harper Collins, 2004).

That moment, that breathless, heart-stopping moment, is the world of the mystics. While some mystics claim they never again felt distant from God after realizing mystical union, others acknowledge that they have found themselves passing through periods of greater or lesser awareness of that union, and sometimes painfully so. One of the most frustrating things about this pattern is that there is nothing that can be done about it. No amount of prayer or other spiritual disciplines provides a magical formula that restores the greatest awareness of God’s presence.

So how can we be mindful in the midst of Advent’s many activities? How can we practice a daily awareness of God’s presence and love in our lives?

Advent gives us the answer. Advent holds the key. We do it by waiting. We do it by simply keeping watch. We make ourselves ready with the prayer of stillness and silence. We tend our house by loving God, our neighbors, and ourselves, remembering that God is love. We try not to deny our feelings when God seems distant, and we avoid masking them with the vanity and arrogance of false spiritual powers. We may suffer, but we do so with faith, hope, and generosity of spirit.

And those are the lessons, and the gifts, of Advent.

Jeannette de Beauvoir

2nd week of Advent - Love

Sunday, December 3, 2017

1st Sunday of Advent

Mark 13:33-37

Friends, today’s Gospel urges us to stay alert as we await the coming of the Lord. Advent is the season of waiting. We place ourselves in the position of those who, over the centuries, waited for the coming of the Messiah. With them, we cry out, "How long, O Lord?"

Though Jesus fulfilled the expectations of his people, nevertheless we still wait. The liturgy states it very clearly: "as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ." In one of the Eucharistic prayers, we find, "as we await his coming in glory…" The Creed says, "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead." And the very last words of the New Testament are "Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus."

What do we make of all of this? Do we really think that he is going to come again and walk on the earth? We stay awake in our waiting if we pray on a regular basis; if we educate ourselves in the faith; if we participate in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist; if we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; if we become people of love.
Bishop Robert Barron

1st week of Advent - Hope