Friday, December 23, 2011

Oh Come, Oh Come, Oh Come Emanuel

By their nature the “Word” and “Light” and the realities they evoke lend themselves as apt symbols of the truth about Jesus and of What God is doing in Jesus in cooperation with the Spirit. The Trinitarian God is wholly part and parcel of this divine self-revelation and outreach to us.

This divine revelation is at the heart of our coming Christmas celebration. In the Christmas mystery we proclaim that Jesus is the divine revelatory presence of God among us and for us. St. John tells us that Jesus, as the Word of God, brings all things into being as the Light of God in this world. St. John further says that in Jesus and in the daily witness of those who live in his Holy Spirit, the darkness of this world is pushed back, step by step, moment by moment in a challenging exercise of religious and spiritual patience until at last, the full saving power of God dries the final tears and heals the wounds we so regularly cause each other in a world that lost its way within the life and time of Adam and Eve.

Jesus is the Light of the world--he shows us our true selves, he previews our collective destiny, he is the on-going answer to our most selfless and generous and loving prayers.

Come, let us gather together this Christmas Day and this Christmas Season to celebrate God’s coming among us as one of us in Jesus—whose total reality is spelled out in his divinely given name: Emanuel, “God with us,.”’
Father Ron Cioffi

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord


 One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village
The child of a peasant woman
He grew up in another obscure village
Where he worked in a carpenter shop
Until he was thirty

He never wrote a book
He never held an office
He never went to college
He never visited a big city
He never travelled more than two hundred miles
From the place where he was born
He did none of the things
Usually associated with greatness
He had no credentials but himself

He was only thirty three

His friends ran away
One of them denied him
He was turned over to his enemies
And went through the mockery of a trial
He was nailed to a cross between two thieves
While dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing
The only property he had on earth

When he was dead
He was laid in a borrowed grave
Through the pity of a friend

Nineteen centuries have come and gone
And today Jesus is the central figure of the human race
And the leader of mankind's progress
All the armies that have ever marched
All the navies that have ever sailed
All the parliaments that have ever sat
All the kings that ever reigned put together
Have not affected the life of mankind on earth
As powerfully as that one solitary life

Glory to God in the highest...Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let it be done according to your word

The  Gospel of Luke 1:26-38 is as much about the beginning as in the word was made flesh, as it is about our journey and our “beginning, “ and was dwelt among us.
Michaelangelo’s “Pieta” is a tribute to Mary’s “yes” to God’s will. Pieta means "faithfulness" in Italian. Mary is the young woman who with all her heart wanted only the will of God, who said her “yes” but did not understand all that it would involve. But she trusted God; trusted that He loved her; trusted His wisdom and his ways, even when she did not understand.

When we see our Christian lives in the perspective of the gospels, faithfulness to God’s will is the only real crown of successPieta   (John Powell, SJ. The Christian Vision, The Truth That Sets Us Free)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: 
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Faith Vs. Belief

On Wednesday we discussed that John bears witness to the Light so that "all might have faith through Him." John makes the distinction between waiting, watching and witnessing. Witnessing or testifying makes us active participants in being present to, with and in the Light. We discussed that faith as used in the Greek translation, is a verb and "believe" was substituted in the English translation.  This is unfortunate since the biblical concept of "faith" is not the same as "believe."  Faith is "radical trust," an orientation of one's entire being.  "Believe" involves intellectual assent--(like putting a check mark beside every phrase of the Apostles' Creed, then faxing it to heaven.)  The author of the fourth gospel could care less about "intellectual assent." 
He's not into head games.  He's after our commitment.
Bob

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

In our Gospel reading for Wednesday, John is challenging us to testify to the Light of the World. Beyond waiting for His coming, we are called to witness the Light of the World by our reflecting His Light. We ask how?  
For some, John's gospel can become a sign which prompts the recognition of Jesus as living Lord. For others, it may be reading the words of a saint, receiving an act of kindness, seeing a person in need,  experiencing an odd coincidence, seeing the beauty of art, music, or nature. Even a tragic event in one's life can become a miracle or sign which leads to the recognition of the Divine Presence.” Campion P. Gavaler, OSB, The Sunday Sermon h.ttp://www.jknirp.com/sunday.htm

Regards,
Bob

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Faith is about doing. You are how you act, not just how you believe" (Mitch Albom)

While George was falling into the abyss, his community of friends and loved ones were supporting him through prayer and by coming to his aid.  (In fact, the movie opens with their voices deep in prayer for him.)

Last night we asked and discussed the following:

Was George's human flaw, characterized by his constantly forsaking his plans to keep the bank and community afloat, a form of arrogance and self-indulgence? Did he wait until it was almost too late to realize that he could not do it alone?

Did he confuse willful pride with self reliance? 

On the other hand, maybe George was a “prayerful person;” maybe he was a better listener than talker? Maybe his “moral compass” was formed to recognize the needs of others and “intuitively” respond to those needs?   I want to live again...please God, let me live again

We invite your comments/reflections.

Regards,
Bob