Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas so how was it?

So another Christmas day has come and gone. For me it was a great Christmas. I had so much fun this year with my family. This was priceless and there is no way you can buy that kind of joy!
Listening to many I guess I must be missing something. On the radio you hear people complain they did not get what they want. That how hard and annoying it is to stand for hours in line waiting for the stores to open on Boxing Day for the big sales. Really sad. I guess a lot of us have lost the meaning of Christmas and are concerned with only the material aspect of the holiday and not the true reason which is the birth of our lord Jesus.
We have overlooked the simplicity of what went down. There was no top of the line hospital and birthing department with nurses. There was not even staying in the Marriott or Hilton no it was a birth in a stable a birth for the world to celebrate a birth of love.
It was quite interesting to hear Father L at our parish at midnight mass how he can't understand people who make those gift lists and write down who purchased what and for how much and then always give back of equivalent value. Father L went on to say if we do give a gift it should be a token of love and not looked at that they gave me something for $10 so I will spend that much and no more or less. You should be giving the gift based on love and not value. Good point!
My bah humbug came Christmas day when we went to the outlaws for Christmas dinner. I saw at least 4-5 Christmas trees already thrown out. Really annoyed me and wondered how Christmas is observed at these houses? Do we open the gifts throw the turkey in the oven and then clean up and throw everything out? I don't know. Certainly this year I have avoided the commercial aspect as much as I can for Christmas to try to grasp a bit of the true meaning. I think I had a good start but still have a long way to go! How about you?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday Readings

First Reading
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14

God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard.
Whoever reveres his father will live a long life; he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother.

My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins—a house raised in justice to you.


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5

R. (cf. 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
blessed shall you be, and favored.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
around your table.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Behold, thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life.
R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.


Second Reading
Colossians 3:12-21

Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.


Holy Gospel
Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

When the magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, Out of Egypt I called my son.

When Herod had died, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” He rose, took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go back there. And because he had been warned in a dream, he departed for the region of Galilee. He went and dwelt in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, He shall be called a Nazorean.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!


Wishing evryone who visits new and old a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Reading

First Reading
Isaiah 52:7-10

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, “Your God is King!”

Hark! Your sentinels raise a cry, together they shout for joy, for they see directly, before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion. Break out together in song, O ruins of Jerusalem! For the LORD comforts his people, he redeems Jerusalem. The LORD has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations; all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, 5-6

R. (3c) All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing praise to the LORD with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
sing joyfully before the King, the LORD.
R. All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.


Second Reading
Hebrews 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word. When he had accomplished purification from sins, he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high, as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say: You are my son; this day I have begotten you? Or again: I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me? And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.


Holy Gospel
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas is coming!

So here we are going down the stretch run to Christmas! Are you ready have you battled your way through the crowds at the mall to get the gifts you need to make everyone happy? Then are you ready for the Christmas marathon to start over again on the 26th for the coming Christmas? I guess thanks to the mass commercialization of Christmas this is what the Christmas message has become.

You know I am sad in a way about Christmas yes sad! Sad to see how the "holiness" of the season has disappeared where it is not called Christmas anymore but a holiday. A holiday that now is becoming a day off with no meaning a day with less significance than lets say Thanksgiving. Yes watching the meaning of Christmas literally beaten out of Christmas has been sad. I almost relate this to when Jesus was crucified and watching the painfully as this ends. Are we soon going to have to phone in sick to work to be able to celebrate Christmas? Probably not but will we be chastised for celebrating Christmas? I do not know other than I am sad, confused and angry about this holiday. I am sad and angry that for so many years I overlooked the meaning of Christmas and now as I start to understand I see that it is eroding away in today's society. Angry at various groups who are offended by a Christmas tree by the words Merry Christmas or by even hearing about the birth of our saviour Jesus. Yes it is sad.

I think through this Advent season of preparing I finally started to see what is being taken away more than what we should be receiving. The worst thing I have come to realize and I am having trouble with is it will only get worse as I alluded to above. Certainly a sad statement on the world today.

No matter I will still celebrate Christmas as Christmas and will be proud of the fact that I will celebrate it as such. We will have our traditional Christmas Eve meal with family around and enjoying each others company and going to midnight mass to celebrate the arrival of the baby Jesus!

The Sunday Reading

First Reading
Isaiah 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying: Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky! But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!” Then Isaiah said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary people, must you also weary my God? Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6.

R. (7c and 10b) Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
The LORD’s are the earth and its fullness;
the world and those who dwell in it.
For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
Who can ascend the mountain of the LORD?
or who may stand in his holy place?
One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean,
who desires not what is vain.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.
He shall receive a blessing from the LORD,
a reward from God his savior.
Such is the race that seeks for him,
that seeks the face of the God of Jacob.
R. Let the Lord enter; he is king of glory.


Second Reading
Romans 1:1-7

Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Holy Gospel
Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More Bashing

I found this article at EWTN News.
I have become quite alarmed about this and it causes me to wonder really what direction mankind is taking. I call this Catholic Bashing and have noticed the last year or so it is becoming more wide spread and more intense. I have stated with my fellow workers much to their shock that their is a distinct anti catholic movement out there. Of course their shock is two fold first me being a practicing catholic and two that I would hold this impression. I have pointed out to a few of them that maybe they should do some thinking and not all the news and media outlets to do it for them. I have pointed out that a real world does exist out there and not the one CNN has told us about! So here is the latest "bashing" article for you to look over!

Report finds rising discrimination against Christians in Europe

By Alan Holdren, Rome Correspondent


In February, patients in the surgery unit of a public hospital in Bad Soden, Germany, watched as hospital workers moved methodically through the unit taking down 12 crucifixes that hung on the walls of the Protestant-run institution. The workers then threw the crosses into trash bags.

Why were the crosses removed? Because a Muslim patient had complained and the hospital had reason to think it might be sued if the crosses were kept hanging.

In November 2008, a veteran family law judge in Murcia, Spain was fired, fined the equivalent of nearly $25,000, and barred from practicing law for 18 years.

His crime? He delayed the adoption of a little girl by the lesbian partner of the girl’s mother.

Judge Fernando Ferrín Calamita, 51, a practicing Catholic and father of seven, made a legal argument that he was acting in the child’s best interest and in conscientious objection to Spain’s adoption laws.

These were among dozens of examples of religious intolerance against Catholics and other Christians documented in a new report by the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe.

The 40-page study was released at the observatory’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria on Dec. 10. The report comes just days after the conclusion of a summit of European leaders in which a top Vatican official urged leaders to pay more attention to discrimination against Christians.

While religious persecution and intolerance are usually associated with dictatorships or regimes run by religious extremists, the report details the rise of a secularist attitude in European societies that increasingly leads to intolerance against Christian beliefs.

The Observatory’s director, Dr. Gudrun Kugler, said the abuses included the denial of Christians’ rights to free speech and freedom of conscience.

“Religious freedom is endangered especially with regard to its public and its institutional dimension,” she said. “We also receive many reports on the removal of Christian symbols, misrepresentation and negative stereotyping of Christians in the media, and social disadvantages for Christians, such as being ridiculed or overlooked for promotion in the work place.“

Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi said the new report “deserves attention.”

"It is a base on which to judge the dimensions and the nature of the phenomenon” of intolerance and discrimination” he said in an editorial aired on Vatican television.

A great many of the cases the Observatory cite involve Christians being punished for expressing their beliefs about homosexuality and defending their beliefs in traditional marriage.

Often, the report said, anti-discrimination laws are applied in such a way that “causes indirect side-effect discrimination of Christians.” In addition, the report said, “Hate speech legislation has a tendency to indirectly discriminate against Christians, criminalizing core elements of Christian teaching.”

For instance, in July, Spain’s socialist government, which backs gay “marriage,” fined a Christian television network 100,000 euros for running a series of advertisements in favor of the family and opposing the homosexual lifestyle.

Also in recent years, the commission reported, bishops in Belgium and Scotland faced threats of prosecution from members of Parliament for defending the Church’s teaching on marriage.

The report also raises questions about the neutrality of the European Court of Human Rights, which has gained increasing authority with the push for European unification. The court, for instance, has ruled that crucifixes displayed in Italian schoolrooms violates students’ religious freedom.

The report also cited a 2009 case in which the Catholic University of Milan decided not to renew the contract of a professor who declared in class that Christianity promoted “unmerciful dogmas” and declared original sin to be a “fiction.” The professor also said that “Jesus was through and through a bad human being” and that the Gospel was the “most frightening message ever made known to mankind.”

Later in 2009, the human rights court said Italy had violated the professor’s right to freely express his opinion — effectively placing the professor’s rights to speech above a Christian institution’s rights to preserve and promote its identity through its hiring practices.

The report also details a rising number of what it calls “hate crimes” directed at Christians and Christian symbols, including arson and vandalism of churches across Europe.

At the recently concluded meeting of the 56-nation Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, held in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Vatican’s top diplomat, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, echoed many of the themes raised in this new report.

“It is well documented that Christians are the most discriminated and persecuted religious group,” he said in an address to delegates.

“The international community must combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians with the same determination with which the it fights against hate with respect to other religious communities," he added.

In his comments on the new report, Fr. Lombardi reminded listeners that while Pope Benedict was in England this past September, he also expressed his "concern at the increasing marginalization of religion, particularly of Christianity ... even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance."

The new report, he said, is an opportunity for reflection and commitment, "not only from those who work for the defense of Christianity and its values, but also of all honest people truly desirous of protecting the values of tolerance and freedom of expression and religion."

Today

I really liked the first reading for today so I have posted to share it with you.

First Reading
Isaiah 45:6c-8, 18, 21c-25

I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe;
I, the LORD, do all these things. Let justice descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the LORD, have created this.

For thus says the LORD, The creator of the heavens, who is God, The designer and maker of the earth who established it, Not creating it to be a waste, but designing it be lived in: I am the LORD, and there is no other.

Who announced this from the beginning and foretold it from of old? Was it not I, the LORD, besides whom there is no other God? There is no just and saving God but me.

Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; there is no other! By myself I swear, uttering my just decree and my unalterable word: To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear, Saying, “Only in the LORD are just deeds and power. Before him in shame shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Reading

First Reading: Isaiah 35:1-6a,10

1 The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily.
2 It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise: the glory of Libanus is given to it: the beauty of Carmel, and Saron, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God.
3 Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees.
4 Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not: behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will come and will save you.
5 Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6a Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert,
10 And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Psalm: Psalms 146:6-10

6 Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all things that are in them.
7 Who keepeth truth for ever: who executeth judgment for them that suffer wrong: who giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth them that are fettered:
8 The Lord enlighteneth the blind. The Lord lifteth up them that are cast down: the Lord loveth the just.
9 The Lord keepeth the strangers, he will support the fatherless and the widow: and the ways of sinners he will destroy.
10 The Lord shall reign for ever: thy God, O Sion, unto generation and generation.

Second Reading: James 5:7-10

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth: patiently bearing till he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be you therefore also patient, and strengthen your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
9 Grudge not, brethren, one against another, that you may not be judged. Behold the judge standeth before the door.
10 Take, my brethren, for an example of suffering evil, of labour and patience, the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11

2 Now when John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of his disciples he said to him:
3 Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another?
4 And Jesus making answer said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen.
5 The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them.
6 And blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me.
7 And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind?
8 But what went you out to see? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments, are in the houses of kings.
9 But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea I tell you, and more than a prophet.
10 For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.
11 Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist: yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Just a Little Prayer

Here is a small little prayer that found and decided to share,

Lord, your disciples sincerely tried to comprehend your identity and believe in you. I come before you today with my doubts and problems, hoping to find in this prayer an answer to my deepest aspirations. I want to believe with unwavering faith, and I want to love you with a devout heart. I offer you this time of prayer as my token of gratitude for all I have received from you.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mary's life shows God's mercy is more powerful than evil, Pope says on feast day

.- Pope Benedict said on today's Feast of the Immaculate Conception that the day honoring Mary should give Christians “comfort” and remind them that God's mercy “is more powerful than evil.”

On a cloudy morning in St. Peter's Square, pilgrims came to pray the Angelus with the Pope and to hear his remarks on the significance of the Marian feast day.

Pope Benedict briefly spoke from his study window overlooking the square and recalled that the dogma of the Immaculate Conception – Mary being born without original sin – was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX in 1854. The teaching, he said, is “a source of inner light, of hope and comfort,” in the midst of life's difficulties.

The reality of sin in the world, he explained, can be traced to disobedience to God's will, adding that now evil has its root in the human heart, which is “sick and wounded,” and “unable to heal itself.”

But the life of Mary, Mother of Christ, shows us that tells us that God's mercy is more powerful than evil and that grace is greater than sin, the Pope taught.

He added that God has prepared a new and everlasting covenant, sealed by the blood of Jesus Christ who was “born of a woman.” Pope Benedict then explained the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, saying that the Virgin Mary experienced in advance the redeeming death of her Son, since she was conceived without sin.

After his remarks in St. Peter's Square, Pope Benedict greeted pilgrims in several different languages. Speaking in English, he said that Church “joyfully” celebrates the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

“By her prayers, may our hearts and minds be kept free from sin, so that like Mary we may be spiritually prepared to welcome Christ,” he said.

“Let us turn to her, the Immaculate, who brought Christ to us, and ask her now to bring us to Him. Upon each of you and your loved ones at home, I invoke God’s abundant blessings!”

Later in the afternoon, Pope Benedict also led a traditional procession to crown a statue of Mary at the Piazza di Spagna – one of Rome's most prestigious shopping districts. Leading the way in his popemobile, the pontiff and procession solicited curious stares from busy onlookers doing their holiday shopping.

He emphasized to the crowds gathered in the piazza that the message of the Virgin Mary is for everyone, even those not aware of the feast day, and especially for those who may feel alone or abandoned.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Growing?

 Yes maybe I am not sure? What? Have I lost my marbles or is it marble? Depends who you are and how you look at me.

 Yesterday went to the monthly Cursillo meeting and I really enjoyed the get together as I have from the start. I notice a calm over me when I am there and I get the feeling that I am on the path or at least at the start of the path to the Lord. Really listening to the other members it is quite evident that they are or were no different then me. Confused, misguided unsure of what was correct in life and then finding God how much their lives changed for the better. Certainly I could relate to the discussions around the table yesterday.

 I signed up for the Cursillo weekend in January and I am really getting anxious as I am really looking forward to it. For me this will be like Christmas morning as I open up to the most special gift of all!

 Thanks for dropping by! Take care and God Bless!

The Sunday Readings

First Reading
Isaiah 11:1-10

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.

He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.

The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea. On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.


Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17

R. (cf. 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
he shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.
R. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.


Second Reading
Romans 15:4-9

Brothers and sisters: Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.


Holy Gospel
Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair
and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,
and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance.
And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Remember When.....

I saw this article at Catholic News Agency and decided to share. The article did stir up some nice memories from a time not so long ago.
Do you remember when Christmas was a season a season to share and be joyful? Joyful to be with family and friends and also experience a truer meaning of what Christmas was? Yes the birth of Jesus Christ. When really we prepared and celebrated Christmas at Christmas?
Today Christmas goods are wheeled into the stores at Halloween, music starts blaring the sales start the advertising etc. Then our US cousins have their Thanksgiving and Black Friday arrives for more Christmas shopping specials where people line up like cattle at the slaughter house to go save money! Just to make sure the Canadian stores are starting to have Black Friday sales as well.
Santa arrives in the malls and at many of them by mid November. Yes Christmas the celebration of our Saviour has turned into a multi billion dollar marketing and cash grab. New toys , clothing lines, DVD's all geared for the Christmas season.
Then of course the there is the whole argument about no Christmas decorations as to not offend non Christians with christian belief of the birth of Christ! I even read that here in Toronto there are a couple of malls which have banned the Salvation Army from using their bells at the donation balls they have set up. Apparently people were complaining!
Yes this is Christmas where we get the daily reports of Stats Can on how much we will spend and on what. Where the governments are telling us to spend to help the economy. Funny I don't hear them telling people to go to church to pray and give thanks for the birth of Jesus!
Yes in a nut shell spend spend spend and have your Christmas parties and get drunk and celebrate that we are going to get some time off!
Really makes one sit back and take a long look at things. I remember when it was December when things slowly unfolded and I was keen to go downtown to Simpson's and Eaton's to see the toy window, Santa came in December and not in the summer! You felt everything building up slowly to make Christmas a special day. I was also raised than to be a part time Catholic and we would dress up and go either to midnight mass or Christmas Day mass. Plus being Hungarian descent we were taught that it was the baby Jesus brought the gifts at Christmas and not Santa. In fact tomorrow is when Saint Nicholas comes and leaves either a small gift for the kids in their boots by the window (if the kids have been good) or a lump of coal if they have been bad!
Okay so this quick little article turned into a full blown rant! So now on to the article from the Catholic News Agency! I will continue to write a little more an this and my feelings about Christmas.


Catholics urged to hold off on Christmas celebrations until Dec. 24

Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec 2, 2010 / 05:58 am (CNA).- Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City urged Catholics in his diocese to be “faithful” to the Advent Season this year and hold off on celebrating Christmas until Dec. 24.

In his first pastoral letter since his appointment as leader of the diocese's 300,000 Catholics, Bishop Wester stressed on Nov. 24 that Advent is a time of silence – of waiting and expectation.

“Few would disagree that we live in a busy and rushed society,” he said in his opening remarks. “We rush from one thing to the next; in the end, many of us are restless and tired, yearning for stability and peace in our community and family.”

He added that in “our hurried society,” many stores have already decorated for Christmas, radio stations are playing Christmas songs and parishes have begun preparing for Christmas parties for early December.

“In the midst of all this hurry, the Church teaches us to slow down, to be patient, and to wait,” he said. “What is the rush? Are we really so eager to get to all the decorations up, celebrate the event, and quickly dismantle all the decorations so we can move on to the next event?”

Bishop Wester said that if Catholics truly believe the Church is “the sacrament of Christ in the world,” then “we must authentically celebrate the story of salvation as it unfolds in the liturgical year so that we can witness God's profound love and mercy to the world.”

Celebrating Christmas early, he said, increases the danger of Christians being “burned out” by the time the solemnity actually arrives. “We are already tired of all the 'Christmas hype',” he said, adding that holiday has then become “anticlimactic.”

The bishop said that the word “advent” has a Latin root meaning "coming" or "arrival." So what “arrival are we waiting for?” he asked.

Bishop Wester then explained the meaning behind each week in Advent, starting with the first Sunday. The scripture readings on the first week, he said, speak of “the Lord's return” and urge watchfulness. On the second Sunday of Advent, he continued, “we hear John the Baptist's call to repentance and preparation.” The third Sunday – called Gaudete Sunday – is a joyful liturgy that “introduces Jesus as the one who will fulfill the covenant and bring forth the kingdom,” he said.

On the final week of the Advent season, “we hear the gospel stories that immediately precede Christ's birth.”

“As Catholics, we must celebrate Advent differently,” he stressed. “Our reckoning of time is itself a sacramental witness to the fullness of the paschal mystery.”

“If we were to skip the Advent season or any other season, we would impoverish that witness,” the bishop added. “We are very lucky to have a Church who has provided us with seasons to bear witness to the great mysteries of our faith.”

He then offered some practical suggestions, saying that Catholic schools should decorate with simple greenery at this time, families should not put up trees just yet, and parties – save for Gaudate Sunday celebrations – should wait until Christmas day.

“I encourage each home to display and bless an Advent wreath where the family can gather for prayer either in the morning, at dinner, or some other practical time, “ he said. “You may want to incorporate a Jesse Tree in your family's observance of the seasons.”

He also underscored that Christmas itself is a season that “stretches far beyond the 25th of December” and continues until the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord on Jan. 9, 2011.

“Once Christmas comes,” he said, “we should leave the decorations which are testimonies to our joy up for the entire season. There is plenty of time for us to celebrate our joy at Christ's birth and we should make the most of it.”

“First, though, before we celebrate, comes a necessary time of waiting and of preparation,” the bishop noted. “The season of Advent refocuses us and reminds us that Christ has changed the world. Darkness has covered this hemisphere, and the world itself is quiet.”

“Because we know that Christ reigns over all of creation, we strain in the darkness to see the light of Christ, our coming King,” he concluded. “May our observance of this season renew us and be an example of patience, silence, and joy to our hurried and anxious society.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hungary mentioned by Pope

Just saw this at EWTN News about the Holy Father discussing Hungary, great to see this article about Hungary!


2-December-2010 -- Vatican Information Service

Hungary: Mediator Between East And West
VATICAN CITY, 2 DEC 2010 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Gabor Gyorivanyi, the new Hungarian ambassador to the Holy See.

Speaking to the diplomat in German, the Pope observed that, following the resumption of diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the Republic of Hungary in 1990, "new confidence emerged in active and constructive dialogue with the Catholic Church". He also spoke of his hope "that the profound wounds inflicted by the materialistic vision of man which seized the hearts of your country's citizens for nearly forty-five years, may continue to heal in a climate of peace, freedom and respect for man's dignity.

"Without doubt the Catholic faith is one of the fundamental pillars of Hungarian history", the Holy Father added. "When, long ago in the year 1000, the young Hungarian Prince Stephen received the regal crown sent to him by Pope Sylvester II, this gift included the mandate to give faith in Jesus Christ a space and a home in that land. ... Of course we do not expect the State to impose a particular religion; rather, it should guarantee the freedom to confess and practice the faith. Nonetheless, politics and Christian faith do meet. ... This does nor mean imposing norms or codes of behaviour upon people who do not share the faith. It means, quite simply, purifying reason with the aim of helping to ensure that what is good and just may be recognised and put into practice, here and now".

The Pope then went on to refer to the important role played by Hungary following the fall of the Iron Curtain, to its entry into the European Union six years ago, and to its forthcoming presidency of the Council of Europe. "Hungary", he said, "is particularly called to act as mediator between East and West. The Holy Crown, the legacy of King Stephen, by uniting the circular 'corona graeca' with the arched 'corona latina', ... shows how East and West must support and enrich one another on the basis of their spiritual and cultural heritage, and on the living profession of faith".

Speaking them of the project for a new Hungarian constitution, the Pope expressed the hope "that it will be inspired by Christian values, especially as concerns the position of marriage and the family within society, and the protection of life".

He went on: "Marriage and the family constitute an essential foundation for the healthy development of civil society, of countries and of peoples. ... Europe would not be Europe if this basic social building block disappeared or was substantially transformed. ... The Church cannot approve legislative initiatives which involve the acceptance of alternative models of marriage and family life, as these would contribute to weakening the principles of natural law and thus to relativising legislation and society's understanding of values".

Finally Benedict XVI highlighted how the Catholic Church, "like other religious communities, plays a significant role in Hungarian society ... through her institutions in the field of education, culture, and social assistance, in this way she makes a useful contribution to the moral edification of your country. ... May the collaboration between the State and the Catholic Church in this field grow in the future and bring benefit to everyone".

Prayer

Lord God, I come from dust and to dust I shall return. You, however, existed before all time, and every creature takes its being from you. ...