1st Week of Advent - Monday

Monday of the First Week of Advent
Isaiah 2:1-5  +  Psalm 122  +  Matthew 8:5-11
December 3, 2012

“We will go up to the house of the Lord.”  [Psalm 122:1]

Right out of the chute on this first weekday of Advent, the prophecy and Gospel of today’s Mass focus our attention on the “catholic” / “universal” nature of Advent.  God wants you during Advent to prepare for Him to bring salvation to every land, people, and person of God’s green earth.  In other words, God wants you to be as generous as He is.
               Isaiah 2 and Psalm 122 both describe the image of “the house of the Lord”.  In these Old Testament passages, “the house of the Lord” refers not to Heaven, but to the sacred, earthly city of Jerusalem.  Both passages also mention that Jerusalem sits atop a mountain (not on the scale of the Rockies or Himalayas, but a mountain as considered by the ancient peoples of the Holy Land).  That “the house of the Lord” sits atop a mountain implies an ascent, which in turn implies personal sacrifice.  One must stretch and climb to reach His house.  We can relate this ascent both to the long course of Old Testament salvation history, and/or to our own religious practices during the Season of Advent.

1st Sunday of Advent [C]

The First Sunday of Advent  [C]
Jeremiah 33:14-16  +  1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2  +  Luke 21:25-28,34-36
December 2, 2012
…when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.”  [Luke 21:28]

A movie called “2012” paints a vivid picture of catastrophes even worse than those Jesus describes today in the Gospel.  In the movie, even St. Peter’s Basilica is destroyed!  But in contrast to prophecies of doom and gloom, Jesus offers you hope.  The divine virtue of hope ought to be the center of your Advent.
But to start Advent fruitfully, you need to answer two questions.  The first:  what is the object of your hope?  And second:  what means can help you focus on this hope?

Christ the King [B]

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe [B]
Daniel 7:13-14   +   Revelation 1:5-8     John 18:33-37
November 25, 2012

“To Him… who has made us into a kingdom, priests for His God and Father,
to Him be glory and power forever and ever.  Amen.”  [Revelation 1:5,6]

               If “Michael” is the question, then “Jesus” is the answer.  The name “Michael” literally asks the question, “Who is like God?”  In sacred art, Saint Michael the Archangel is usually shown in conquest over the devil.  One such image is found in our sacristies, with the Prayer to Saint Michael next to it.  Before each Mass begins here at St. Mark’s, the servers, lector, sacristan and I pray this prayer, as a form of recollection.
               Humility—the virtue that St. Michael personifies—is the first step on the path towards God.  In an article that I read on retreat, the author said that if all the virtues of the Christian life were like the alphabet, then the letter “A” would be humility, and the letter “Z” would be caritas:  divine love.  But how do we get from “A” to “Z”?

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]

The Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
Daniel 12:1-3  +  Hebrews 10:11-14,18  +  Mark 13:24-32
November 18, 2012

“ ‘At that time there shall arise Michael, the great prince,
guardian of your people….’ ”  [Daniel 12:1]

The Book of Daniel is to the Old Testament what the Book of Revelation is to the New Testament.  Both look to the far future, in a sense that’s outside our normal way of looking ahead at life.  In fact, both are books of prophecy that are meant to prepare God’s chosen People for an unimaginable future.  The difference between these two books is that the future envisioned by the Book of Revelation centers itself on—revolves around—the person of Jesus Christ.  The future that God the Father has prepared for you hinges on whether and how you give Jesus Christ a place in your earthly life.
Our parish is blessed to have a group of parishioners who this past week began a small-group study of the Book of Revelation.  One of the great things about this group is that it’s been a grass-roots effort, initiated and organized by parishioners.  Fortunately the study materials they’re using are from a Catholic publisher well-known for its orthodoxy.  That’s especially important when Catholics study the Book of Revelation, because it’s a difficult book of Scripture to wrap your mind and heart around.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]

The Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
I Kings 7:10-16  +  Hebrews 9:24-28  +  Mark 12:38-44
November 11, 2012

There came a poor widow.

Father Hoisington is making his annual retreat this week.
The following is by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Papal Household.
The translation below is from the following webpage:

One day, Jesus was standing before the temple treasury, watching people deposit their offerings. He saw a poor widow come and put in all she had, two copper coins, which make a penny. He turned to his disciples and said, "Truly I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than the others. All have given from their excess, but she, in her poverty, put in all she had, all she had to live on."We might call this Sunday the "Sunday of the widows." The story of a widow was also told in the first reading, the widow of Zarephath who gave up all she had left to eat (a handful of flour and a drop of oil) to prepare a meal for the prophet Elijah.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]

The Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
Deuteronomy 6:2-6   +   Hebrews 7:23-28   +   Mark 12:28-34
November 4, 2012

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind, and with all your strength.’”  [Mark 12:30]

               Conflict, like Baskin-Robbins ice cream, comes in many different flavors.  There are also many ways to address it, and different ways to react to it.  Living out the Catholic Faith in our modern world involves a lot of conflict.  How we address it, and/or react to it, has a lot to do with how we feel about our lives as Catholics.
               Conflict does not, however, have to feel like a battle.  This is one of the points that the Church teaches engaged couples as they get ready for Marriage.  Some think that having a healthy marriage means never arguing.  That’s neither realistic nor healthy.  In any healthy marriage, there will naturally be arguing.  The key is not not to argue:  the key is to argue in a healthy, calm, patient and (above all) charitable manner.  As much as it might surprise some, even Joseph and Mary argued during their marriage.  But neither ever raised his or her voice, or played a game of one-upmanship.  They argued only for the sake of God’s Will, not their own.

The parish I serve

<b>The parish I serve</b>
St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Colwich, Kansas (Diocese of Wichita)