Thursday, December 31, 2015


Gospel Acclamation
 Alleluia, alleluia! 
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. 
He enabled those who accepted him to become the children of God. 

Today's Gospel Acclamation is drawn directly from the Gospel it acclaims, John 1:1-18. The last day of 2015 is acclaimed by a reminder of where the year and all it has held has come from...
In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Jn.1:1
So what does this mean to us who accept this truth? We become children.

We have two granddaughters staying with us at the moment, Anna (4) and Rosie (2). If ever I needed personification of what it means to be children, they are it. When they are happy, you know it. When they are sad, you know it. When they are frightened, you know it and when they are joyful you know it. Their transparency is refreshing. There is no second guessing.

Their world is very "now". Yesterday, if you can remember it, is history. Tomorrow, if you can conceive it, is a mystery. Today is everything and takes all their attention and energy. As a consequence they get a lot out of their day and they sleep solid at night (most nights).

New Year's Eve is upon us. A time for resolutions. For me? May 2016 by the year a child-like me is born anew.

Jesus,  I accept you for who you truly are, the Word made flesh, God among us, Emmanuel. You have made me a child of God. Alleluia.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


His (the baby Jesus in the manger) heartbeat goes out to the youth (St. Stephen) whom he will one day await with a palm as the first to reach the Father's throne. His little hand points him out to us as an example, as if to say, "See the gold that I expect of you."

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein] (1891-1942), Carmelite, martyr, co-patron of Europe. Commentary on St. Stephen depicted in the Nativity scene.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Come Radiant Dawn

Gospel Acclamation
 Alleluia, alleluia! 
Come, Radiant Dawn, splendour of eternal light, sun of justice: 
shine on those lost in the darkness of death! 

Today's Gospel is from the prophesy of John the Baptist's father, Zechariah, given while filled with the Holy Spirit. The Gospel Acclamation is taken from this prophesy, focusing on the just-approaching-the-horizon light of God about to be released into the world through the birth of his son Jesus.

This is a powerful analogy for Christmas Eve, the radiant dawn, the splendour of eternal light, about to burst forth over the darkened world. This is a light no darkness can extinguish. Darkness is dispelled forever. Oh glorious mystery! Come Lord Jesus come!

Christmas is coming! Oh come, fullness of light and shine so brightly on me that I may reflect your glory into my world.
Saint Joseph, pray for me.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Share the Joy

The time came for Elizabeth to have her child, and she gave birth to a son; and when her neighbours and relations heard that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness, they shared her joy.

Today's Gospel recounts the birth and naming of John the Baptist. Elizabeth and Zechariah's neighbours and family recognised that God's hand was over this baby's birth. They shared Elizabeth's Joy that the Lord had shown her so great a kindness.

Neighbour's sharing joy. There's more than a little Christmas flavor in this phrase. This time of year is unique in that it is a time I can share a salutation of joy to complete strangers. "Merry Christmas!"  I have yet to have the salutation rebuffed with a "Bah, humbug!" like Scrooge. It is usually responded to with a similar well-wishing.

Today my mission is to be a sharer of joy with those I meet. There is so much to be joyful about, no matter our circumstance.

Lord Jesus, you are the source and giver of joy. May I be your conduit of joy today.
Saint Elizabeth, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Flourishing Justice - Fulsome Peace

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
Psalm 71 Response

Psalm 71 prophesies what the kingdom is to be like under the eternal reign of Christ our King. Two of the hallmarks of that age are flourishing justice and a full, complete peace.

A flourishing justice means injustice is banished, a thing of the past. A fullness of peace means no matter where I turn I will find only peace and peace alone.

Justice and peace. These are the yearning of every human heart. It's promises like this that make me cry out, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!

Jesus my King. Help me be an agent of justice and peace today, so your kingdom may come, your will be done.
Saint Joseph leading Mary on the donkey, pray for me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Do it!

‘I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you, a pattern of true righteousness, but you did not believe him, and yet the tax collectors and prostitutes did.'

Jesus has just told the parable of the two sons. One said he would do the right thing but didn't. The other initially rebelled but then thought better of it and carried out his father's wishes. Jesus then equates the first son to the chief priests and elders and the second son to the repentant prostitutes and tax collectors. He highlights the importance of doing over just saying.

This is good news for me. Jesus is telling me my past sins are powerless over my future destination when I do the right thing. And what is the right thing? The role models Jesus holds up are the prostitutes and tax collectors who heard John the Baptist's message and repented. Advent is a good time to repent.  It's time I went to Confession...

Thank you Jesus that you set me free from my past mistakes and draw me further up and further in to my true home, the Kingdom of God with you.
Saint Joseph leading Mary on a donkey, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Give God the Glory

I will give you glory, O God my king, I will bless your name for ever. How good is the Lord to all, compassionate to all his creatures.

King David writes a song of praise and blessing, exulting how God is good and compassionate to all.

I'm mindful of my nephew, struggling with what looks to be a loosing battle with cancer. When I read scripture such as that above, praising God for his goodness and kindness to everyone, I have to remember that what appears a disaster to me must look very different to God. His view is eternal and I simply cannot imagine with any accuracy how that appears.

So, I reread the above psalm of praise and trust God again. Then that wonderful exchange happens. My anxieties are replaced with peace, a peace beyond understanding and I give God the glory.

Father in Heaven, you are so kind and compassionate. Let your mercy reign over Brooke's life. Give Mary and Chris your peace beyond understanding. In your son Jesus' name, Amen.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, Mother of us all, pray for us.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia! 
The Lord is coming to save his people: 
happy are those prepared to meet him. 

Today's Gospel Acclamation taken from the prophet Isaiah has a strong Advent ring to it. The Lord is coming to save. Be prepared. Cry out for joy!

For me, this is the time of year to focus on Mary, riding on a donkey with my Lord and Savior in her womb. She is the model of expectancy, preparedness, building joy.  She is led at walking pace by Joseph, the model of true manhood, protecting, cherishing and providing for his bride. This slow progression through the desert leads inexorably to Bethlehem, to the time and place where Jesus is to be born and God's salvation plan kicks into place.

This is great enough, but as I contemplate, my focus shifts back to today's Acclamation. He is coming again, to save me! Like Mary, inside me builds up an expectancy, preparedness and building joy. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus come!

Lord Jesus, I so look forward to you coming again. Help me be prepared to meet you on that wonderful day.
Mary, Mother of God, my Mother, please pray for me.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Doer of the Word

‘Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock.

Jesus has just warned about true and false disciples. He then continues with the parable of wise and foolish builders. The true and wise disciple builds on the rock.

It seems everyone builds. We're all about doing something, attaining something, building something. And it also seems we all experience storms in life. No one is exempt from that. The difference is in the foundation. Is it sand or rock?

The foundation test Jesus sets before me is not do I listen to him but do I listen and act? It's in the action that wisdom lies, that the rock can be found. I need to be not just a listening Christian but a doing Christian.

Lord Jesus. It's so easy just to listen to you. To act involves effort and risk. Help me out of my lethargy and become a doer for you.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Integrity and Faithfulness

Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips.

Isaiah prophesies the coming of Jesus, the branch from Jesse. He is to be powerful and wise, defending the weak and passing judgement on the wicked. Integrity is his loin cloth, faithfulness his belt.

Integrity is defined as "the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." I find it interesting that Jesus' loins and hips are covered in this way. The loins can be the area of the flesh that is most dishonest, immoral and unfaithful. If Jesus is the model of the perfect man, and he is, then he offers the antidote to this war of the flesh. Integrity and faithfulness, graces from him to those who follow him, graces for me today.

Lord Jesus, defend me in my weakness. I ask for the graces of integrity and faithfulness today that I may become more like you in every way.
Mary, riding on a donkey, pray for me.