My Jewish friends, while assuring me that they very much enjoy the Christmas season, do observe that never do they feel more “other” than during these days. It dawns on them, they continue, that a big chunk of the world is celebrating a feast, and they’re not.
In a way, we Christians also feel somewhat “other” these holy days of Advent. We take Advent seriously, which means we are in a time of preparation for Christmas, a grand feast we really do not begin to celebrate until Christmas Eve.
In our Catholic understanding, the Lord comes to us in three different ways. Christ Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord has come to us in history, He comes to us in mystery, and He comes to us in majesty. There’s the three advents – the three arrivals – of our Lord that we contemplate during this beautiful season of Advent.
The following homily was delivered at this morning’s 10:15 am Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
God’s Holy Word, which we just heard, and the sermon that follows, are supposed to be good news.
Some days that’s tough to give, this good news and this is one of them, as we mourn the brutal and irrational execution of two young, promising and devoted police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu; as we tear-up thinking about their heartbroken families; as we are in solidarity with our police officers who experience a “death in the family;” as we…
In this week’s Catholic New York column, I wrote about Our Lady of Guadalupe and the importance of women in the Catholic Church. I thought you might want to read it.
Here is an excerpt:
If there is a “war on women,” those who defend the bond of marriage and the sanctity of the family (realizing that women are the ones usually left shattered and financially strapped by shattered marriages); those who believe that abortion is destructive of baby, mother, and father; those who hold that all God’s children, male and female, are made in God’s image, and thus deserve dignity and…
It’s all about the kids, isn’t it?
That dawned on me over the Thanksgiving weekend, when I was back in St. Louis with my family.
Besides eating . . . which I obviously relished – – and sleeping, we spent most of our time just enjoying the kids! There we sat, passing one little one to another, cooing, talking baby-talk, or laughing as the kids would do something new.
My nieces are mostly grown-up, and now the married ones are having babies! So we’ve got five of them, four and under, with two on the way. …
A blessed Advent!
I discussed it with folks visiting me over the weekend, right after Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the First Sunday of Advent.
It’s the yearly debate about Advent, and it goes something like this: The first person began, “Why do we start to celebrate Christmas so early? The decorations are up in early November; the carols begin before Thanksgiving; the tree goes up now . . . no wonder we’re sick of Christmas by December 26th!”
Another will chime-in, “Yeah, remember fifty years ago when we were kids? The tree would not go up until Christmas Eve; carols…
Rome . . . the “Eternal City,” the Caput Mundi (the “capital of the world”);
The city of Romulus and Remus, of the Caesars and Nero;
The city that gave its name to one of the most sustained periods of peace the world has ever known, the Pax Romana; the seat of government over the most extensive, unified empire ever;
Rome . . . whose edicts could summon Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem for the nativity of their firstborn, Jesus, and whose appointed governor, Pontius Pilate, would sentence Him to death on a cross thirty-three years later;
Rome . . . the roads,…