Merry Christmas!! This will certainly be the last time you hear this most blessed greeting for the next eleven months. Before we turn around twice it will be August and the commercialism of Christmas will begin anew. Now is it time to savor past blessings and accept the invitation to reflect on and bless others with the wonderful Gift that our loving God has so generously provided for our health of mind, body and spirit.
Although today is the last day of the Christmas Season I feel confident in saying that most Christmas decorations are packed away for the season. Hopefully our Christmas Spirit is not also packed up and forgotten because now is the time, like Jesus, to get serious about our Christianity.
Earlier this week I received an advertisement packet from a R-Garden Inc. touting a new wonder vitamin – Vitamin O. The pages of claims in the booklet were just short of miraculous on every level. This vitamin will cure everything from hangnails to heart problems, from insomnia to narcolepsy and everything kind of fatigue known to human kind. I’m sure that many thousands of people will initially “jump on the band wagon” and try this oxygen supplement only to find that it comes up radically short of the claims. People will then shake their heads, wonder why they got ‘sucked in’ and then impatiently wait for the next miracle drug or supplement to come along and start in all over again.
When I see these claims I think of the sign I saw outside a Church some months ago, it read: “The only vitamin a Christian needs is B-1.” What an incredibly simple and profound message. This message of course is at the heart of this weekend’s Readings. As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord we are reminded by Jesus himself what the discipline is to B-1. That discipline is first of all to acknowledge that we are all sinners and in dire need of the healing forgiveness which Jesus provides for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The Baptism of John of which Jesus partook was the first known instance of a “Communal Reconciliation Service.” At this moment Jesus began to take upon himself the ‘sins of the world’ and from this experience he was able to feel our pain and share in our miseries. What an awesome God we have who not only ‘walks a mile in our sinful shoes’ but gives us the means to reject sin and claim our inheritance of sons and daughters of the Living God. This is the gift of “rejoicing” in the Lord.
It was not so many years ago that we experienced long lines at the confessionals on Saturday, now they are almost non-existent, did ‘sin’ disappear? I think not for its effects are more real and obvious today than ever before and the debt of sin is overburdening our spiritual resources. If ever you are going to make a “new year’s resolution” make it simple and profound – B-1 and begin with the discipline of Reconciliation, it may simply save your life. God Bless.
One of the greatest sins of our time is ABORTION. It not only kills a baby but also the whole family. It interferes with God’s great blessings and puts us into the deep darkness of sin. You are invited to travel to Washington for this year’s March for Life on January 22nd. The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring the buses. All you need to do is sign up and STAND UP FOR LIFE. Fr. Cosme will lead our group again this year, please, your prayers and presence make a difference.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!! On behalf of Fr. and me we wish you all a very blessed and joyful year. Scripture reminds us that the favors of the Lord are not exhausted, they are renewed each morning. As we begin this New Year our God promises us that He will journey with us if we but choose to BELIEVE. We must choose to believe not in our own ability to survive, not in our government’s bailouts and programs for betterment, not in our science and technology to make life easier but in the very real presence of the God who created us to share in the Abundant Life.
This indeed is the New Year’s Resolution that will bring great blessings to us, not only as individuals but to society as a whole. Our goal as a parish in This Year of the Family will be to continue to evangelize ourselves and then to reach out to the many members of our parish who are not present to us on a regular basis.
On this Epiphany Weekend we are reminded that the Wise Men followed the star because they believed it heralded the birth of a “great person” who would change their lives. They trusted it would lead them to fulfillment and true peace. For the most part they traveled blind but they did ask directions. The directions for them and for us came from the Scriptures. They saw the Star at its rising and didn’t see it again until it came to rest on the child Jesus in Bethlehem. Then they were able to “rejoice” (have a personal encounter with Jesus’ glory). Never in their wildest imaginings would they have thought it would lead them to the Messiah, yet they were willing to risk all in the challenge of discovery.
Each month during the Year of the Family we are offering several “directions” based on the Scriptures. These events will help us to live as the Holy Family who had to deal with the same type of problems and tribulations, joys and sorrows that we encounter every day.
In this New Year we are all challenged to journey in the Light of Christ to experience total fulfillment and peace. Drop your baggage! Lift your heads! Your redemption is now at hand! Choose to rejoice and believe and then share the coming blessing in the New Year.
Each year the Radzieta Family gives our parish a wonderful gift – a new calendar. We are eternally grateful for their gift and for the many ways they minister to the people of the community. Thank you and God Bless you.
Next week when you come to Mass many of the decorations will be down. Life goes on in cycles and the Season of Lent is not far way. That being said, my thanks go out to all those who worked so hard to make this Christmas experience so special. All of our ministers especially Art and Environment, Saintly Sweepers and the Music Ministry labored in love for the parish. I know that you have and will continue to receive countless blessings from the Lord.