Gaudete Sunday – Rejoice!

imagesAt a time that stood in the shadow of notorious papal scandal and other church corruption, a time of great distrust of the church, a saint came along to who would change some of this. This man had a great desire to counter these feelings of suspicion and a lack of trust, and replace them with a love of the Lord. If you were walking around Rome in the 16th century you might have spied him, perhaps standing in a piazza or on a street corner. He might stand out because he was frequently seen wearing absolutely ridiculous clothing and sometimes with half of his beard shaved off. What a sight! It was in this way that St. Philip Neri helped to change the course of church history, and bring many souls to know Christ.

While Neri is known for his extraordinary evangelizing, it was this offbeat approach that helped change lives. By joyfully using his extraordinary sense of humor, St. Philip left a huge imprint upon the church and the world. All this was accomplished by Continue reading

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Rejoice in God’s mercy

JUBILEE-YEAR-OF-MERCYToday we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Lent – a day meant for rejoicing. Not unlike King Cyrus declaring the return to Jerusalem to our beleaguered Jewish ancestors during the Babylonian exile, Pope Francis brings us news to make Laetare Sunday especially joyful this year!

From America Magazine:

“In a surprising and far-reaching decision, Pope Francis has announced an extraordinary “Jubilee of Mercy” that will extend from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016, and will involve the Catholic Church throughout the world.”

As we pass the midpoint of Lent we are encouraged to Continue reading

Glad Tidings – A reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

Helen Johnson embraces police officer William Stacy, after he helps her instead of arresting her.

Helen Johnson embraces police officer William Stacy, after he helps her instead of arresting her.

Today is Gaudete Sunday, the Third Sunday of Advent – a day meant for rejoicing because the Lord is near.

At mass these words were proclaimed at the beginning of the First Reading: “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted…” Isaiah 61:1-2

If you have not heard the story of Helen Johnson and police officer William Stacy, the link is right here. In a world full of seemingly bad news – death, destruction, devastation and more – we are given this story at a perfect moment. Who needs a homily? This is it.

As we make our way around the bend in the road that is the Third Sunday of Advent, we change our liturgical color from violet to rose, and we are reminded to rejoice. This rejoicing is our fuel as we watch and wait for the Lord. In our rejoicing however, it is important to remember just what glad tidings might mean.

San_Juan_Bautista_por_Joan_de_Joanes-1We start out with this word…. εὐαγγελίζω. What? OK, fair enough, Isiah would not have been speaking Greek, but if we transport ourselves to first century Palestine, the place where Jesus is about to be born, that is how we might hear “glad tidings.”  This is important in the context of today’s Gospel, in which John the Evangelist speaks to us about John the Baptist. Yes, the scraggly looking dude who ate locusts and honey, walking around the desert in a shmatte, was bringing εὐαγγελίζω. He foretold Jesus from before his birth and he did it in his adult life – and most people did not pay attention. Many of us may believe, with all good intentions, that we would certainly notice Jesus, but do we?
Continue reading

A song for Saturday

Weihnachtskugel - HintergrundThis version of this song has been my daily companion this Advent, so I share it with you today. I love Sufjan Stevens plaintive presentation, it always touches my heart, but even more so this year. Tomorrow is Gaudete Sunday, so the words “rejoice, rejoice, rejoice” hit nestled in my consciousness this morning.

May your Advent be blessed, and may watching and waiting fill your soul.