“You can’t handle the truth!” That is a powerful line from the movie “A Few Good Men” where Tom Cruise is the military prosecutor of Jack Nicholson who is an officer who ordered one his marines to be killed. Is evil or the denial of the truth or the rights of others ever justifiable? To deny the truth is to live in darkness and error. Denying the truth is nothing new. It is a human trait that inevitably leads to disaster and discord. Lies and falsehoods separate us from God and one another.READ MORE
It is always good to hear encouraging news. For centuries, the Jewish people longed for a savior. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed what the Savior would do when he came. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21) Jesus speaks those words and says He is the fulfillment of that promise. The long awaited hope for a Savior was and still is today a reality, the inner hope we all have as human beings: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” While we live in a far more technological world and are very advanced in knowledge, the hopes for the fullness of life in this world and the hopes for eternal life are now a reality. All we have to do is believe in Jesus.READ MORE
Every once in a while I read something I have read many times before and see something I never saw before or something that enlightens me about what is going on in the present moment. This past Tuesday as I was praying morning prayer and reflecting on Psalm 33, this passage gave me food for thought: “The Lord looks on those who revere him, on those who hope in his love, to rescue their souls from death, to keep them alive in famine. Our soul is waiting for the Lord. The Lord is our help and our shield. In him do our hearts find joy. We trust in his holy name.” It is very human and very good to look for help in situations where we are confused, frustrated, and see the need for a change of direction. We are wallowing in the midst of the coronavirus and its variants. We have vaccinations, masks, and quarantines. Yet it seems we are still pretty much in the dark about how and when we will get beyond this dreaded disease and its affect on our former lifestyles. We need the Lord to be “our help and our shield” as we live and work together to find cures and healing.READ MORE
What are you doing here? We ask that question when we encounter someone we did not expect to be where we are at the present moment. At times we are grateful for the unexpected surprise. Other times we are thinking “what does that person want?” And at other times we are not happy to see someone we did not expect. Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. Why did Jesus come to be baptized by John the Baptist? Surely He did not need to turn away from sin or try to wash away guilt. As it says in the first part of the Eucharistic Prayer IV: “Father, you so loved the world that in the fullness of time you sent your only Son to be our Savior. He was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary, a man like us in all things but sin.” People came to John the Baptist because they were searching for peace. They recognized the tension that sin caused in their lives and wanted to find peace. John the Baptist baptized people not just to help them wash away sin and its effects but even more to prepare them to rise to life with God.READ MORE
We Three Kings of Orient are,
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain,
Moor and mountain,
Following yonder Star.
Star of Wonder, Star of Night,
Star with Royal Beauty bright,
Guide us to Thy perfect Light.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The above words from the hymn “We Three Kings” speak of their journey in a wondrous way. We have no idea how long their journey actually was. But from the Scriptures we see that they traveled a distance following a star that led them to the Christ child.READ MORE
As much as we make plans and have our daily routines, very often we are asked to give our time and attention to someone who was “not on the schedule” that day. What energizes us In these situations is to see the people involved as opportunities to enrich and in that way being enriched ourselves. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. It is always good to be enriched by our family members. I am the oldest of four children, having two sisters and a brother who is the youngest. He is seventeen years younger than me. I used to come home from the seminary and pick him up and down when he was a little boy. Now he is bigger and stronger than I am. But I say he is my brother with great joy. At least a couple times a month I go out to Greenport to see him and have supper with him and his family. It is just good to spend time together. Seemingly we don’t do anything significant but we do. We simply enjoy spending time with each other. His business is putting in gravestones and making stairs. The closest I came to making stairs was a few times putting the screws in the holes he drilled in the back of a couple of sets of stairs so he could follow after with the screw gun to put them in. And I did mix the cement when we put the gravestone on my parents grave.READ MORE
What do you want for Christmas? We readily ask that of children who respond with enthusiasm. The older we get the less we are looking for gifts and the more we see the love that is behind them. For a gift to be a perfect gift it just has to come from the heart.
As we have been getting ready for Christmas the previous two Sundays we have been reminded by the prophets Jeremiah, Baruch, and John the Baptist that God has promised to eliminate all obstacles to His coming presence into our midst. The valleys will be filled in, the mountains leveled, and the crooked roads straightened. Our obstacles to God’s presence are not physical but the busyness, problems, and concerns of our daily lives. The key is to recognize that God did not come in Jesus to put a burden on us, to take away time and energy from our daily lives, but to enrich, guide, and walk with us in all we say and do every day. It is so important to take some time everyday to pray, to focus on Jesus’ presence in our lives and His presence in ours. We are still in the midst of the coronavirus and another strain of it now called the Omicron strain. Our lives have certainly been disrupted and challenged this past year and a half. Where is the light? Where is the hope we all need? The answer is what we are preparing to celebrate on Christmas Day and in reality what we need to celebrate and focus on every day of our lives - Jesus’ presence in our lives and our presence in His. God knows us much better than we know ourselves and has come to walk with us Himself in Jesus.READ MORE
Do you love Christmas traditions but don't know where they come from? Tune in for Dr. Michael Patrick Barber's Advent reflections called "The True Meaning of Christmas" and learn the meaning behind your favorite Christmas pastimes. To go deeper, be sure to get his accompanying book, The True Meaning of Chirstmas, available on the Catholic.Market.
One of the ways we come to see what those who have lived before us experienced is to read history. We read about different kinds of governments, advances in technology, and problems they faced and how they dealt with them. Other than the perfection of the Garden of Eden, which was short lived because of human sinfulness, there has never been a form of government or moral code that all people have come to see and embrace as THE way to live. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (Luke 3:1-6) we see St. Luke giving us the political environment into which Jesus and John the Baptist were born. Tiberius Caesar, Pontus Pilate, and Herod are names that are familiar to us because they were people who had a role in how Jesus was received. They were pagans and had no interest in changing their way of life or leading the people they ruled in a new direction. Jesus was not seen as a gift but sadly as a nuisance to be executed.READ MORE