Young people announce when they become engaged and want to begin preparations for their wedding. They are excited, but at the same time they have questions and concerns about the future. What makes a man a real man; what makes a woman a real woman? And we can add, what makes a child a real child? The answers are found if we look at the Holy Family.
The mission of Mary and Joseph was to bring up the child Jesus and give Him to the world. It was not an easy journey for them. We all know that. Some of you may have a perfect family, but most families often face challenges. They had all kinds of problems in front of them. If you think you don’t know your spouse well enough, look at the Holy Family. Mary was not sure what she was doing. Joseph was struggling to receive Mary as a wife. Mary and Joseph had dreams, they didn’t exactly know what they were all about. But they followed. If you ever think that you don’t know your child, look at the Holy Family, Mary and Joseph didn’t fully understand either. We know the story of when Jesus went into the temple. On the way back, they lost him. It took three days to go back and find him. When they found Jesus in the temple, what did he say to Mary and Joseph, why are you looking for me? Three things to do as a family: pray together, love, and forgive each other. The Holy Family trusted in the Lord, and asked constantly for his guidance.
In few days we are about to say good bye to the year 2018 and getting ready to embrace the New Year 2019. Are we all prepared to embrace the New Year? Every year on January 1st we celebrate the feast of Mary, Mother of God. The Feast of Mary, is a very appropriate way to begin a new year reminding us to rely on the powerful intercession of our heavenly mother. The church observes this day also as the World Day of Peace and invites us especially to pray for lasting peace in the world throughout the New Year.
Let us take a moment to look at the Year 2018 and thank God for his many blessings. And let us pray for one another and wait for the New Year 2019! Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, may the Child Jesus bless all of us in the Year 2019!!
Happy New Year!
Once I heard a life story of a father who had two children with special needs. They were twins and they died month apart. When Dad started to talk about his two children, his eyes would open wide and a big smile would rise on his face. He explained, God was looking down from heaven. God was holding two precious babies in his hands and was waiting in search of parents who would take care of the children with love and care. And God saw me and my wife, and gave us those two children. We took care of them. We relocated our lives for their care; one of us gave up our job to find time to spend with them.
Two thousand years ago, God the Father was searching for a mother with whom to entrust His Son, to share the Good News with His people. Every Christmas reminds us of the Good News, “God is with us.” A question to ponder, “Am I with God?”
During the American Civil War, a lady exclaimed effusively to President Lincoln: “Oh Mr. President, I feel so sure that God is on our side, don't you?” “Ma'am,” replied the President, “I am more concerned that we should be on God's side.”
Christmas reminds us of endless giving. God gave himself for us, but do we find him? At the first Christmas, we primarily see two groups of people who came to visit and adore Child Jesus. The first group was shepherds: they were not well-educated, but the message was delivered to them, they felt it in their hearts, believed it, and went to worship the newborn king. The second group of people were a well-educated group: the Magi. They studied, and they had intellectual knowledge about the appearance of the star. They followed the star and came to Child Jesus to offer gifts and to worship him.
God completed the promise he made to Adam and Eve at Christmas. The chosen people were waiting for centuries for the coming of the Messiah. He was born in Bethlehem. These last four weeks we were waiting with hope, peace, and joy to celebrate Christmas.
For us, God is us always. Once again the celebration of Christmas came.
Jesus, the miracle of love was born in a manger…
He was born to die…
Jesus’s death starts at the manger…
When he left his glory and became a vulnerable baby…
Jesus did it for us…
A gift from our Heavenly Father, Baby Jesus!!
His first coming changed history: before Christ and after Christ. It was the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament. Let every Christmas bring new beginnings in our Lives, Families, Church, and World. Let us adore him, praise him, and thank him. With a grateful heart let us celebrate this Christmas!
Let us kneel at the manger in adoration and sing with angels, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
I wish you all a Blessed Christmas!
I was reading a story which brought me this thought, every summer there is always some part of the highway that is being repaired. There will be signs that say, "Slow Down - Construction Ahead" and we would see road graders, gravel trucks, and a lot of men working on the highway. I always thought to myself, "What a nice highway this will be when it finished it and there is no more construction." Summer comes and goes, guess what? They are still working on it!
What about our lives? We are back again for the season of Advent, a time for waiting and preparing. The first reading from the book of Baruch, the prophet says that the hand of God will bring back the Israelites from their Babylonian exile. We know the exodus story; Moses led them back from Egypt. The Hebrews were brought into exile not just because they were weaker than their neighbors, but because they deserted the God who had formed them into His people. When they recognized their sins, and the hand of God brought them back to Promised Land.
In the Gospel, the voice of John the Baptist was heard in the whole region of Jordan, which is part of the Promised Land. John the Baptist invited everyone for the baptism of repentance. What does this mean? Even though the Israelites were in the Promised Land, still they were still in spiritual exile. John the Baptist cried out in the desert, “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” John wasn't really talking about building a highway upon which Jesus could travel. He was really talking about the hearts of the people. He was calling people to prepare their hearts to receive Jesus so that he could walk among them and live with them.
Today we are no different from the Israelites. It is a human condition. Advent invites us to listen to the voice of John the Baptist which is an Invitation to prepare the way of the Lord for Christmas and ultimately, for his second coming.
St. Paul says in the second reading, “this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.”
As we prepare for Christmas, let us grow in the love of Christ and others. Let us recognize the need for Christ in our lives. He is the one who fills our emptiness. If our emptiness and our inadequacies are filled by Jesus Christ, then we thank God for our need for his presence. Jesus was born to die for us, and that death starts at manger. He emptied himself,
separated from his glory, and born in a manger; the first part of the death look place there. How? His love for us. Let us listen to the voice of John the Baptist to prepare the way, the way of love to receive Jesus in the manger, who is love.