The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

There are moments in history that take place near or on rivers. In ancient times, the Roman general Caesar, took his legions across the river Rubicon, challenging the authority of the Roman Senate; and won. The Roman Republic became eventually the Roman Empire! On December 25, 1776, General George Washington took his rag tag army across the Delaware River, and attacked the British Hessian force in Trenton, NJ, the following morning. His victory at that battle saved the Continental Army from falling apart, and laid the groundwork for ultimate victory. And then there is the River Jordan. In ancient times, twelve tribes, after wandering in the desert together, crossed the Jordan, and were transformed into a united people. And during the Roman occupation, there was John the Baptist, who on the shores of the Jordan River, was proclaiming that the hoped for Messiah was coming, that now was the time for repentance, a time for change. And the symbol for that was to be bathed in the River, to be washed clean. And there was a growing expectation that the Messiah was coming soon. And then one day, a man from Nazareth arrived on Jordan’s shore, and John recognized him, knew who he was; and John poured the waters of the Jordan over him. And Jesus, saw the Holy Spirit descending upon him, heard his Father voice acknowledging him, “You are my beloved Son.” And the journey began, the work of proclaiming the Good News began.


And the work of salvation continues, Jesus continues the work through us who have also been baptized. On the day of our own baptism, the wound we suffered from Original Sin was healed; we were given new life as adopted children of God; we were all joined together in the Body of Christ, we are all brothers and sisters, living together in a holy community that is the Church. We all share in it’s mission, given to us by Jesus, to proclaim the Good News, by our words, our actions; and by the example of our own lives; we are all called to give example to others what it means to be a follower of Christ, by the way we ourselves struggle with our faith; how we, as people of faith, relate to others; our families; friends and neighbors, to strangers, the homeless; the disenfranchised in our society; and to people that are not very nice.
When I read in Isaiah; when the Lord, through the prophet, declares “I formed you, and set you as a covenant of the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes of the blind,…” I feel that it is not just the physically blind we are called to open, but also those whose eyes are blinded by prejudice and hatred. To free those who prisoners of greed and selfishness. And to help those who live in the darkness of despair and hopelessness.


That is not to say to that there will not be times when we ourselves may be tempted to give into selfishness, anger, and despair. It is then we should turn to prayer, and the sacraments; namely confession, penance; and the Eucharist, where in we received Jesus Christ through Holy Communion, and are healed and strengthened by his Presence. It is by how we struggle with our own weaknesses and sins; and work to overcome them that we can be at our most prophetic.
Our own baptism is the beginning for each of our own journey of faith. That journey continues, for each of us, each with our own calling, our own approach, to living the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. May the Lord be with all of us on this journey.

Remembering January 6th!

To say I am a tv junkie, would be an understatement. When my parents brought in the first black & white television home, I was sitting right there. Cartoon shows galore; along with action heroes and adventure shows. And of course, comedies!

But there was time, when the tv showed events that were not funny. Winter storms, and hurricanes, and the damage they wrought! Then there was the assassination of a President; the killing of a civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. A bloody war in an Asian country. The death of another Kennedy; shot by a gunman. Riots, protesters, violence, all shown on the glowing tube.

But nothing prepared me for the sight of rioters charging up the steps of the. Capital Building! What was even more disconcerting, was the number of watchers who were supporting the rioters, egging them on! People were in danger of losing their lives! People were injured! People died! Yet, there were politicians and pundits trying to make political gain out of this violence!

Now is the time for a deep introspection of us as a country. Why are so many people so intensely suspicious of government, politicians, contrary news reports coming over cable and the web! The country appears to be tearing itself apart! Why!

There will be different answers, coming from different sources, to this question. But at the very least there has to be a frank and honest dialogue between citizens. An openness to at least try to hear what the other side is saying; and what circumstances are driving it. If we cannot agree on what concerns have validity; what we can address and come to mutual agreed upon solutions; the country is in real trouble.

As a Catholic Christian, I firmly believe in the teaching that we are called on to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To come together as a people; this is the great challenge we have always had as a nation. This is a challenge we may or may not be able to meet; but we must try. “…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” From Abraham Lincoln Gettysburg Address.

Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Hail, O Lady,
holy Queen,
Mary,holy Mother of God,
who are the virgin made church
and who are the one chosen by the most holy
Father in heaven,
whom he consecrated
with his most holy beloved Son
and with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete,
and in whom there has been and is
all the fullness of grace and every good.
Hail, His Palace!
Hail, His Tabernacle!
Hail, His Home!
Hail, His Robe!
Hail, His Handmaid!
Hail, His Mother!
And all you holy virtues,
who
through the grace and illumination of the
Holy Spirit have been poured into the
hearts of the faithful, so that from their
faithless state, you may make them
faithful to God.


The Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
written by St. Francis of Assisi

Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent – 2021

On the liturgical calendar, this Third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday; “Rejoice!” is the cry we hear from St. Paul to the Phillipians. From the Book of the Prophet Zephaniah, we heard “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!” I suspect that there are people in six Midwest and Southeast states, for whom this call to “Rejoice!” rings hollow! There are people in our midst, people with their own individual tragedies, sorrows, for whom the invitation to joy, is maybe the last thing they want to hear.


This is not the homily I wanted to deliver this morning, I wanted to speak of joy, of rejoicing in our God; but the tragedy of yesterday weighs heavy on my mind and soul; especially as the numbers of injured and those who have died grows; as I saw the scenes of destruction play out on my TV screen, I knew I had to crumple the pages I had prepared, and start from scratch. This is one of those moments, whether you were personally touched by this tragedy, or not; when you want to shake your fists to the heavens, and shout out WHY?! But there is no easy answer! Scientists can perhaps explain the atmospheric conditions that created these monster storms, but that will not ease the pain, the loss. We still cry out WHY!


Maybe this why the Son of God, Jesus Christ, came down to be among us, to share in the sufferings, the pain, the hopelessness we may experience through life. And he did; he took on that pain, that hopelessness to such a degree; that even he cried out “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me!” It is then that he give us a reason for hope; through his Resurrection! There is hope, after all this destruction and death, God has not abandoned us!


As we watch on our televisions, desktops, iPads and cellphones, the scenes of suffering; this question may arise in our minds; “What should we do?” God’s response comes through the lips of John the Baptist: “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Whatever we can give to help the recovery, give it! Let the love of Christ, blaze in our hearts, encouraging us to come the aid of our brothers and sisters!


I close with the words of St. Paul: “The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
And above all else, we need to continue to pray for the victims; those who are recovering; those who have died and those who mourn their loss. Let us together, give them a reason to experience some hope, some sense that they are not alone in this time of darkness and pain.

First Sunday of Advent – 2021

Today, we begin a new liturgical year; we are celebrating the First Sunday of Advent, in the Year of Our Lord, 2021/2022. And we seem to be beginning the new Advent season, like we finished Ordinary Time a couple of week ago, with a reflection on the Second Coming of Christ. Once again we hear that the end times will come with powerful signs and wonders that will scare the living daylights out of people experiencing it!

Jesus speaks to the people of His time, and to us in this present time, and those who may come after us: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” We are told to be vigilant, not lazy. Now is the time for us to begin examining how well..or not; we are striving to live the Gospel life! How open are our ears and hearts to the prompting of the Holy Spirit!

We were committed at our Baptisms; we pledged at our Confirmations, to live the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We committed ourselves to loving our Lord God with all our heart and soul. And to love our neighbors, known and unknown; rich and poor; good or bad, as we love ourselves! This call for compassion, love and mercy. It calls on us to seek daily renewal of our heart and soul. This calls for constant reflecting on Scripture; constant prayer, both privately and in community. And joining together at the Lord’s Table, to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, so that we can be strengthened, renewed and ready for when He comes!

  • Jeremiah 33: 14-16
  • Thessalonians 3: 12-4: 2
  • Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36

This was composed in thirty minutes; it an approach I tried once before, and I am giving it another go! 🤞

“A Prayer When Visiting a Cemetery”

May God bless all the company of the souls here,
may God and Mary bless you.
You too spent awhile here just as we are now
and we too will join you soon.
May we all be adorned in the beauty
of the bright King of heaven.


From the Glenstal Book of Prayer
November 2021 Issue; Give Us This Day