Sunday, November 30, 2014

Busted Halo's 2014 Advent Surprise Calendar!

One of our favorite Catholic blogs, Busted Halo, 
is back with another Advent Surprise Calendar
To access it, click here!
And remember, Advent is all about waiting,
so you can't access a given day's surprise
till that day has come!
Patience!  Be watchful!  Be alert!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 30, 2014: Be watchful! Be alert!

Be watchful! Be alert!
How has the Lord come into your life lately?

Advent is upon us, and the word itself reminds us of the season’s focus:  Jesus’ coming into the world, from the Latin, ad-venire, to come to.  Humankind has long held the hope of God coming into our lives.  From the time of the prophet Isaiah, the people of Israel longed for a powerful manifestation of the divine presence in their midst, especially at moments when they felt abandoned by God, lost without his constant care:  O that you would rend the heavens and come down… Return for the sake of your servants.  Psalm 80 bears a similar message:  Come to save us… Protect what your right hand has planted.  Yet the psalm’s refrain reminds us that the people realize they must turn back to God -- who has never left them -- as well:  Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.  Humankind has always longed for God, longed to experience his presence in our midst...

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us that, just as the people of Israel waited for a Messiah before his birth, so his followers will have to patiently await his return in the second coming:  Be watchful!  Be alert!  You do not know when the time will come… Like gatekeepers, we must be attentive, ever ready to the possibility of Jesus’ appearance in our midst, ever ready to experience the powerful grace that is the divine presence among us.  The Corinthians, for all their issues, have known this presence:  though they too wait for the Lord’s second coming, having received the grace of God, they are in Christ and have been enriched by his dwelling within them, blessed with the spiritual gifts of discourse and knowledge. May we be so lucky!

Jesus surprises us with his presence -- grace -- at the most unexpected times of need, of course, but he is also there in the simple tasks and gestures of everyday life.  We see Jesus in Creation and in each other.  Most importantly, we find the Lord in Eucharist, when we take him into our bodies, and into our hearts.  May we remain ever watchful, then, and aware of the myriad ways we can witness Jesus’ coming, not only at Christmas, but today and every day… 

Image source

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Counting Our Blessings (Anne Lamott)

Why do we say grace before meals?
For an insightful (and humorous) answer, 
read author Anne Lamott's article, 
"Counting Our Blessings," by clicking here.

Thanksgiving Blessings to all ~
May your day be filled with grace!

Image source:  Norman Rockwell, Thanksgiving Blessings

Article source:  Parade Magazine, 2013

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

i thank You God (e. e. cummings)

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?
Thank God!

i thank You God for this most amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:  and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears are awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
—e. e. cummings
Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jesus in His Most Distressing Disguise

If we recognize Jesus under the appearance of bread, 
we will have no difficulty recognizing him in the disguise of the suffering poor.  
--Blessed Teresa of Calcutta 

How did Mother Teresa find the strength to work day in and day out for the well-being of the poor and destitute?  She was inspired in part by Matthew 25, which we heard at Mass this weekend:  Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.  As important was her daily participation in Eucharist.  To read about the connection she made here, check out Brandon Vogt's article on the Word on Fire blog by clicking here

Article source
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (Händel)

On November 22, we celebrate the Feast of St. Cecilia.
For a treat, enjoy Händel's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day, 
based on a poem by John Dryden, by clicking here.

The last section is particularly striking, and might offer food for thought this weekend. 
(For the complete text, click on "Libretto," below.)

Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees, unrooted, left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre.

But bright Cecilia raised the wonder high’r:
When to her organ, vocal breath was giv’n,
An angel heard, and straight appear’d,
Mistaking earth for Heav’n.

As from the pow’r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator’s praise
To all the bless’d above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky.

Video source
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 23, 2014: For he must reign...

Who rules your heart?

This weekend we celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, a title often telescoped into Christ the King.  But what defines this King, exactly?

In our reading from Matthew’s Gospel this week, Jesus describes the end times when, seated on his throne, the Son of Man will come in his glory, promising the kingdom of heaven to those whose hearts are open, who long to be with God.  What kind of king is he?  Well, the King we hear about in our reading from Ezekiel -- one who prefigures Jesus himself -- is shepherd first of all, a loving caregiver who tends his flock, rescuing them, pasturing them, and giving them rest.  With such a Lord as our shepherd, we shall not want (Psalm 23). This king does not simply sit, detached, on his throne:  he expects our participation with him in the covenant, active engagement with the work around us, spreading God’s loving kindness to all.

The sheep in Matthew are thus those blessed by the Father, those who have accepted Jesus as King of the Universe.  How?  By meeting the needs of those around them:  feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the ill – not just in a superficial, perfunctory way, but out of a profound understanding of the nature of their relationship to God and other.  If Ezekiel’s God as Shepherd healed the sick and sought out the lost, that mantle passes, too, to the sheep-become-shepherds of this world:  whatever you did for the least of the brothers, you did for me.

True sheep respond to their relationship with God by accepting the transformation God calls them to daily, embracing the cross as well as Jesus’s death and resurrection as signs of the deep compassion of God for those God loves, and sharing that compassion with the world – the sick, the hungry, the lost.  We are all called to constant and ongoing metanoia, a spiritual conversion in the very depths of our being, subjecting ourselves to Jesus, as Paul tells the Corinthians, so that we might participate fully in the kingdom of heaven, so that God may be all in all, ruling the hearts of all so that all might one day be in perfect union with him.  We are sheep; we are shepherd.

Who rules your heart?  
So much depends on your answer to that question!

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source

Monday, November 17, 2014

We are God's Handiwork

God's Handiwork

On Sunday, our visiting pastor Anni, who looks like she is about 14" and weighs about 8 pounds, gave another one of her sermons that blew us out of the water.  She talked about how, when people are called God’s handiwork in Scripture, the ancient Greeks would have translated that at God’s poems.  This may have changed my life – that we are creativity, depth, condensed truth and light, made to throw off light and truth for others, as poems do.

--Anne Lamott, Facebook, posted August 14, 2012

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Ballad of the Harp Weaver (Edna St. Vincent Millay)

The Ballad of the Harp Weaver

Son, said my mother,
   When I was knee-high,
You’ve need of clothes to cover you,
   And not a rag have I.

There’s nothing in the house
   To make a boy breeches,
Nor shears to cut a cloth with
   Nor thread to take stitches.

There’s nothing in the house
   But a loaf-end of rye,
And a harp with a woman’s head
   Nobody will buy.  And she began to cry.

That was in the early fall.
   When came the late fall,
Son, she said, the sight of you
   Makes your mother’s blood crawl,--