Today we celebrate the end of the Christmas season. So kudos to you if you still have your Christmas tree still up. We close out the Christmas season by celebrating the Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. We see in this event the Trinity at work. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, God the Son. God the Father then proclaims, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Earlier this weekend, we celebrated First Reconciliation at St. Anthony. In Currie, last Thursday we welcomed Vivian Carol Radke, daughter of Lucas and Joyce Radke, as a new member of the Family of God.
In Fulda, the organ is back in. In the Mass, the organ has the pride of place as a musical instrument for Mass. This means that other instruments can be used to help with the music for Mass, but there is a preference or deference to the organ.
We see in Jesus’ Baptism Vivian’s and our own baptisms. We hear God the Father say to us, “You are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased. God doesn’t make junk. Sometimes we turn good things into bad things. But that’s not how we started. God created us good. Both in our natural birth and our spiritual rebirth (in Baptism), we are created good. However, if we have messed it up, we can always get cleaned up. All we have to do is visit Christ’s love and mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Have a blessed week,
This Sunday we celebrate the Epiphany of the Lord. Traditionally, Epiphany was celebrated on January 6th. However, since 1970, Epiphany has been celebrated on the Sunday after January 1st. Epiphany means “to manifest” or “striking appearance.” Through the visiting of the Three Wisemen or the Three Magi, Jesus is made manifest or revealed to the world. They are the first non-Jewish people to see the Savior of the World.
What gifts do they bring the Creator of the universe? Gold, a gift fit for a king; not something you a poor Jewish boy would usually receive. Frankincense was is an incense and was used in liturgy. So it is a gift fit for a priest. Jesus is the High Priest. He is the one who offers the sacrifice of Himself to God the Father. Myrrh was an embalming oil used in death. Thus, this gift symbolized Jesus death and burial. Jesus, not only offers the sacrifice to the Father as the High Priest, but He IS the sacrifice offered to the Father.
These were the original gifts. This is where the idea of gifting first started. It was not some commercial engine to generate extra profit at the end of the year. Rather it was three Magi who tried to give God, the Creator of everything, something. All three gifts symbolically prepared Jesus for the ultimate gift in all of history. Jesus giving the gift of Himself on the Cross so that we might have the forgiveness of our sin, that we might have eternal life. For us too, the greatest gift we can give is ourselves. This is the greatest gift we can give God and others. The gift of our time and energy. This is love. Giving of ourselves to others and to God is what love is all about. You can’t find that in a store or catalog or online shopping.
Once again, that you for an amazing Christmas celebrations. I especially need to thank the choir at St. Gabriel’s since I forgot to do it during Mass. So thank you. For all the choirs, the music was amazing and thank you for the many, many hours you put into practice and preparation to make our Masses beautiful. Thank you to all the decorating crews. All three churches look amazing. Thank you. Thank you to everyone for coming. It was amazing to see all of you and your extended families. It was a great joy to celebrate with so many of you. Thank you.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hopefully you have had a great time celebrating with your family. Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. There is so much one could say. Study after study shows that kids thrive best in a two parent home, where they experience both femininity and masculinity. God created marriage first and foremost to provide an environment where children could thrive by learning from their parents what it means to live life to the full as a male or female and how masculinity and femininity intertwine and compliment each other.Yes, marriage is also meant to bond a man and woman in love so that in their sharing of their lives with the other, they grow in holiness and humility. But this goal is actually secondary to the raising up of holy boys and girls.
But I realize this doesn’t automatically happen. Husbands and wives need to work together to provide the environment where their children fall in love with God and with His commandments. As a mother and father, you have no greater calling. Your greatest calling is not to make your son or daughter the best basketball player, or the best volleyball player, or to make the dean’s list. These are all good and well, but they are secondary in priority to raising them up to love Christ, the Church, and God’s Commandments. If we teach them these things, they will thrive not just in this life, but for all eternity in heaven.
Now I know some people’s children have gotten off track through no fault of their parents. Maybe it was a friend or maybe it was a professor or some other influential person in the son or daughter’s life that steered them away from the Truth. Sometimes they are so far off the path that they can’t even hear the Truth. Sometimes all we are left with is praying for them. Letting them know what we know to be right, but then letting go and leaving their conversion in God’s hand. God loves them even more than we do. We take comfort in St. Monica who prayed for the conversion of her son for many many years before God answered her prayers. Her son, St. Augustine, became one of the greatest Christians writers of all time and wrote extensively of the struggle of sin in our lives, but the ultimate triumph of God’s grace over evil.
Sometimes it is easy to get off track with our priorities for our children and for the family in general. Pray to the Holy Family, to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, that your family remain healthy and close to God.
I hope you are continuing to enjoy the Christmas season.
May God bless and keep your families,