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The first human beings Jesus had contact with and
thus the first human beings he loved were Mary and Joseph.
What an awesome privilege that Mary and Joseph
were the first human beings who were to love the Son of God in the flesh.
Joseph and Mary were also the first humans that Jesus loved.
It was an awesome responsibility on one hand
but also an awesome privilege on the other hand
to be able to love the Baby Jesus, the Son of God in flesh.
It is that very centrality of that message that we celebrate today in this the Feast of the Holy Family. We celebrate that the family is set up as the ideal; this Holy Family is one in which love is born and love is sustained and love is complete. Jesus.
I have a friend who is very pregnant
- now I know there is no such thing as very pregnant
- and she is actually due somewhere around Christmas Day.
She is absolutely huge!
She is just so, so ready.
Recently, she shared how frustrating her pregnancy was for her.
She has had multiple pregnancies
but in this pregnancy she has been so helpless.
She was confined to bed for several weeks
and it has been really, really hard.
She feels so helpless as she is unable to do things for herself.
It has been really difficult because she has other kids
and she cannot help in doing things around the house with the other kids.
She is not even able to do anything really for herself or her husband.
It has been really frustrating for her.
Paul writes to his friends and converts in Philippi, saying:
"Rejoice, rejoice always in the Lord."
It is very hard to hear that message this week
after hearing such tragic news in Newtown, Connecticut.
One has to wonder how could our Lord
allow such a tragedy to happen to so many of our vulnerable victims
and their caregivers-their teachers and principal.
It goes back to that question-
why does the Lord allow such evil to win out in our world?
I recently had the opportunity to see the Six Tony award-winning
Broadway musical Book of Mormon.
It is a very irreverent to say the least;
it is very sardonic but is hilarious.
It tells a story of a group of young missionaries sent to Africa
who try to convert the locals to Mormonism.
It does actually a very good job in sharing the theology of Mormonism
and how Joseph Smith, the All-American prophet,
receives mysterious golden plates
(that have never been shared anywhere with anybody other than him)
upon which is written the story of Jesus appearing in his risen form
to some undiscovered tribes in America.
It is the story of the Book of Mormon told in the most irreverent way.More...
Meteorologists today have very sophisticated equipment
using data sampled from different parts of the ocean and land,
they can determine, with great accuracy,
the intensity of a storm and the approximate arrival of a storm.
In fact, the storm we are experiencing right now
was predicted nearly a week ago and they have it pretty much right.
The Solemnity of Christ the King was declared by Pius XI in 1925
and the world was a very different place.
World War I had ended not long before and
the world was shaken badly by that war.
Pope Pius wanted to give the people of the world something to hope for.
Communism, fascism and Nazism had taken a grip of the world
and Pope Pius wanted the world to believe in
Christ as the true King of the Universe and we are to serve him.
The challenge is that the very people who heard the message
were also those who rejected kings and monarchs in their own country;
they were embracing communism and all these other ideologies.
While the message was embraced by faithful Catholics,
it was not received by the world itself.More...
If you were to read from a piece of paper and I started out with
"Dear Brendan" what would we know about what is written?
It is a letter right.
If I started with the words, "Once upon a time,"
we would know it is a story or tale.
If it started, "Did you hear the one about," it is a joke.
This is called form criticism and it is part of biblical criticism
in which we figure out the "form" of the text, or genre as it is called,
and understand that it has a certain intent by the style of writing.
It is a very helpful way to understand the bible.More...
There is a true story of a young couple that lived in rural Maine;
they ran a grocery store alongside a gasoline station.
In difficult times, some of the locals would pull into the gas station
and beg the man to give them gas
even though they could not pay for it
as things were not going well for them,
either on the farm or in their own stores.
Almost always, he would not only fill up the tank with gas
he would run into the grocery store and see what his wife was baking,
cut a little slice of pie, wrap it up in aluminum foil
and then hand it to the family and saying,
"You've got the fuel for your car;
now here is fuel for your body."[i] More...
Have you ever had someone in your life that you really loved and,
--for whatever reason-that other person was not able to love you in return,
or was not able to even receive your love.
Maybe it was a parent;
maybe it was, or is, an adult child;
maybe it is a friend or maybe an ex-spouse.
It is profoundly sad when we really, really love someone
and they are not able to return that love;
not even able to receive that love.
It causes such a deep pain in our heart.
Not because it is so much the rejection of the love, although that does hurt,
but it is the profound sadness that we have something beautiful to offer
and the other cannot, or is not able, to receive it.More...