“The Parish is where the Church lives. Parishes are communities of faith, of action and of hope. They are where the Gospel is proclaimed and celebrated, where believers are formed and sent to renew the earth. Parishes are the place where God’s people meet Jesus in word and sacrament and come in touch with the source of the church’s life.”
— American Bishop’s Pastoral Letter, 1993
(1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17) It is well known that Christians have abortions at about the same rate as non-Christians. Unfortunately it is rare that someone contemplating an abortion comes to me before the fact. It is only years later, if at all, that the aborted child’s mother, almost always the mother, comes seeking healing. The cases […]
Thanksgiving: Next Sunday we begin Advent, a joyful season of anticipation. This Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving, an opportunity to give thanks for all the blessings we have received. I want to suggest the thanksgiving offered in Daniel 3:52-90 as a model for this year’s prayer. It is the song of three young men cast into the fire for refusing to worship a false god. Finding themselves unharmed, they begin to sing. Not surprising. The song they sing, however, is not so much one of thanks for what God has done for them, but a call to all of creation to join in giving thanks.
Readings for next week: Isaiah 63:16-17,19;64:2-7; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 12:33-37
Reflection: We begin a new year looking forward, not to a relationship with a new god but to a renewed relationship with the same God we’ve known all our lives. In some ways we treat God like an old shoe. He becomes comfortable, and unfortunately unnoticed as time goes by. Advent is a time for remembering where God has been, and for anticipating where God will be. We thank God for the gifts and ways through which he has made his presence known. We pray that we may be more open to recognizing God’s presence in the coming year. We know that God has been with us, often blessing in ways we did not expect. We know that he is with us now. We know that he will be with us in the months and years to come. We do not know how or when he will make his presence known. We keep our eyes open waiting patiently for the surprises that God has planned for us.
1. Share with family or friends any signs that you have seen today which suggest Christ’s coming.
2. Create an Advent Wreath. Each evening gather around the wreath. Mention each family member by name, calling for God’s blessing upon them.
Prayer: Father, grant your blessing upon the new year that you have given us. We seek to renew and strengthen our relationship with you and with your Son, Jesus. Open our eyes and hearts to the wonder of your presence.