First Sunday of Advent
December 3, 2006
Jeremiah 33:14-16, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14,
First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Cynthia Bauer, OP - Hope
Keeping Your Eye on the Mark
In the beginning of this new Liturgical Year Jeremiah, Paul, and
Luke are inviting us to keep our eyes on one of the goals of Advent
- the Second Coming of Christ. In all things we look to the end
in order to find our way there. We are mapping out a journey for
this Advent in our lives. The promise of fulfillment is given to
us even before we begin. “See the days are coming –
it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfill the
promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah.”(Jer.
We know the way there, urged on by Paul, “May the Lord be
generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and
the whole human race as much as we love you.” (I Thess. 3:12).
If ever we doubt whether we will make the mark these words will
remind us how to get to where we are going. The early Christians
Paul was writing to believed that the Second Coming was imminent.
If we also believed in the urgency of life we too would be concerned
about our progress!
Luke recalls Jesus words, “Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to
stand with confidence before the Son of God.” (Lk. 21:36).
We hear many people today say that Christ must be coming soon with
the upheaval of nature and men, women and children dying in continual
warfare and conflict. Encouraged by Jesus we continue the journey,
“When things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads
high, because your liberation is near at hand.” (Lk. 21:28)
First Monday of Advent
December 4, 2006
Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 8-9 or
122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8, 9, Matthew 8: 5-11
Mary Carol Burke, OP – Sparkill
Let us go up! Look up! Onward and upward! All these are expressions
of hope for us.
From Isaiah “Come, let us go up the mountain of God, to the
house of the God of our ancestors; that we may learn God’s
ways and walk in the paths of the Most High.”
Our ancestors were those who risked, who did not wait until they
had everything planned and prepared, but forged ahead, and went
on to answer the needs of their times. It did not matter if what
they were seeking to do had not been done before. It did not matter
if people shook their heads and looked at them strangely, muttering,
“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!”
Our foundresses were women of great faith, who looked up and trusted
God would be with them. Not one hesitated because of too few people,
not enough funds, or permission of a Bishop. We would not exist
if they had.
The Roman centurion was a person of great faith. He had not been
raised in the faith of Israel, but he was better able to recognize
the power of God working in Jesus than most Jews. And so he asked
that his servant/slave be healed. He also knew the compassionate
Jesus did not have to be present to heal him.
Can we look at our present situations and continue onward, upward,
having faith in God and in each other? “Come, let us walk
in the light of our God!
Tuesday of Advent
December 5, 2006
Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17,
Pat Anglin, OP - Amityville
In one translation of Isaiah 11:6, it says…”Wolves and
sheep will live together in peace.” Isaiah’s scripture
passage brings such peaceful images to my soul. Are we in this day
and age able to imagine a scene like the prophet’s description
of peace? For myself, who truly enjoys the arts, these visual images
bring a calmness to me when presently, I know there is so much violence
surrounding us - nation against nation, neighbor against neighbor,
and family members holding onto grudges longer than their memories
I believe these images were given to us, to truly help us to listen
to God’s Truth burning in our hearts. All things are possible,
but first we must be willing to listen and then surrender to what
“we think is right”. Reconciliation takes place within
our hearts/within our world when we are ready to allow our vulnerabilities
be revealed. When we permit our humanness to show, our differences
melt away and we are then able to see what we have in common with
our brothers and sisters.
As mentioned, Isaiah gives us beautiful images of peacefulness.
It is up to each of us to choose peace or conflict. What is God
asking of me today to allow the Reign of God
to become visible in my every day journeys / to be born once again
in our world?
First Wednesday of Advent
December 6, 2006
Isaiah 25:6-10, Psalms 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6,
Deborah Baker, Novice - Elkins Park - Retreat
Staff, Niskayuna, NY
Deliver me, O Lord, from small hopes and dreams. Help me prepare
for the real Advent of your coming and the transformation of all
that is into all it can be. Help me remember that Advent is not
a preparation for business as usual with a patched up version of
my comfortable “normal”. God did not intend to be just
a twelve-day house guest; God came for the forever. Help me prepare.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus healed many people, and that was
wonderful. Concerned that the people would grow faint with hunger,
he fed the 4,000 (not to mention the women and children) with what
started as crumbs, and that was wonderful too. Restored health and
a free lunch, however, were not the point. Those that went home
with just that, only to resume business as usual, missed out on
the real gift. How often do I cling too tightly to my comfortable
“normal” and miss out on the extraordinary?
Some of the people “on that mountain” “on that
day” caught a glimpse of Isaiah taking part in the banquet.
Some recognized their good shepherd, and realized that on the rocky
slope, the Psalm’s “verdant pastures” were revealed.
Some realized that more was healed than their eyesight, their hearing
and relief from their diminishments and degradations. Some stayed
rejoicing, forever foregoing their comfortable “normal”,
to follow the God who saves. We can still join them. Help me prepare
to let go of the “normal this Advent, and to be part of the
First Thursday of Advent
December 7, 2006
Isaiah 26:1-6, Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 19-21,
25-27, Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Marie Mueller, OP – Caldwell - Teacher, Registrar,
St. Dominic Academy, Jersey City
“Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice…”
During the summer, many people go to the beach or the shore to
relax and enjoy being with their family and friends. Often, there
are children building some sort of sand castle. Some of these castles
are a little more elaborate than others, having ramps, moats, steeples
and walkways. The building material needs to have just the right
mixture of sand and water in order for the castle to hold its form.
Everything seems to be going fine, until that one surprise wave
which suddenly comes ashore. There is screaming and crying when
the builders look at their masterpiece that has now become ‘just
sand’ again. All the time it took to build unravels in just
a few seconds.
The foundation was not strong, sand on sand. What about my faith,
my work of art, how is its foundation? Is my faith strong enough
to withstand the rains of comments and the winds of criticism? Will
it collapse under strain? Am I surprised when it collapses? Or,
is it strong enough because it has built with trust and love?
Advent is a time of firming the foundation, of being aware that
just hearing is not good enough, it is in the practice, the action
that the Word of God is lived out. How strong is my faith in a world
where peace and communication is sorely needed? Is it deeply rooted
in my heart or just on the surface? What needs to be firmed up in
my life today to help me to be open to whoever needs to feel the
touch of Jesus?
“Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is
like the wise one who built the house on rock.” (Mt. 7:24)
First Friday of Advent
Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 8, 2006
Genesis 3:9-15, 20 Psalms 98:1, 2-3,3-4
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12, Luke 1:.26-38
Kathy O'Hanlon, OP – Blauvelt - Holy Innocents
Parish - Pleasantville, NY
“Hail, favored one!”Gabriel’s greeting refers
to Mary’s holiness at this visitation and to the unique, abundant
grace within Mary since her conception.
Mary is favored; she has been “chosen”!
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. We celebrate how
Mary was conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, without
original sin! Sanctifying grace was given to her before sin could
take effect in her soul! Through the years Mary’s relationship
with and love of God grew.
At Gabriel’s visitation, God’s Life / Love within Mary
enabled her to:
• trust without understanding and
• surrender with humility.
We, too, are “chosen”! Although born with original sin,
Baptism cleansed us of that sin and filled us with God’s grace.
How do we nurture God’s Life within us? Our troubled society
desperately needs a Redeemer! How do we respond “Fiat”
and give birth to Jesus in our world?
First Saturday of Advent
December 9, 2006
Isaiah 30:19-21, 23- 26, Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
Matthew 9:35--10:1, 6-8
Ann Daniel Belmonte, OP - Hope - Pastoral Associate
“Jesus sent His followers out to proclaim the Kingdom”
As I reflected on God’s word, I remembered:
- Kathy and Susan, who spent hours together editing articles for
our school newspaper
- Jim and Anne, who willingly surrendered their ideas for a better
ides, as co-developers of our children’s garden…
- Captain Scott, who helped me understand the meaning of mutual
trust, as co-founders of a Soup Kitchen…
My personal experience taught me that to co-create meant:
- being responsible and accountable for “our yes”
- letting go of “my plan” for “our plan”
- trusting and believing deeply in each other, one self and our
In remembering, God’s message became clearer to me. God invites
us to be partners, co-creators in building the Kingdom. In saying
“yes” daily, together, our gracious God and each of
us commit to:
- never leave each other alone
- believe and trust in one another and our gifts
I don’t know about you, but I find myself both overwhelmed
- overwhelmed by the awareness that God trusts me!!
- challenged by the belief that I am blessed. God has given me what
I need to be a co-creator and I am called to believe in myself and
to act courageously out of that belief.
So, as we continue our Advent journey…a journey of remembering,
wonder and challenge, let us embrace and celebrate our partnership
with God and each other in building God’s Kingdom, now!
Second Sunday of Advent
December 10, 2006
Baruch 5:1-9 Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11, Luke 3:1-6
Kathleen Logan, OP - Sparkill - Northeast Six Promoter of Vocations
I walked along the shore; the crowds of summer have gone. I saw
and heard the crashing waves and was drawn to the water’s
edge. As I walked closer I listened to the waves and felt their
intensity. I saw many remnants of summer. Broken shells, pebbles,
and other debris lined the shoreline. There seemed to be a message
in their alignment waiting to be shared. Prepare, a storm is in
the horizon or prepare for the arrival of a new winter season.
I did not feel the need to leave this quiet haven in haste. What
I needed to do was to prepare for what was yet to come. As I walked
I heard the call of the sea gulls, the ringing of the buoys and
I heard the soft tones of the wind chimes left behind. They too
were telling me to prepare. I looked out to the vastness of the
water and wondered who else had heard this message.
Being at the shore this time of year allows me to enter into solitude.
The ebb and flow of the water touches the depths of my soul and
prompts me to hear God’s voice. It is in this wilderness that
I stop and become attentive to what is going on within me and about
God, let it be Your direction which prompts me into a gentle movement
that will enable others to hear Your voice in the sounds of my life.
Second Monday of Advent
December 11, 2006
Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
Jeannine Farino - Amityville - Touro Law School -
Dominican Youth Preacher
Luke’s Gospel exemplifies the most important aspect of preparation
for the Advent season, which is to reflect upon the incredible things
we have seen. An incredible thing does not have to be extravagant
like the example of Jesus curing the lame man; it can be the little
miracles we experience daily such as accomplishing a goal, overcoming
an obstacle, or witnessing the triumph of another.
Faith in God is the vehicle that allows us to acknowledge these
every day occurrences as incredible things. God offers them as gifts
to remind us of God’s presence and love. At times it can be
difficult in the midst of busy schedules and hardships to appreciate
the little miracles. However, we have to remember that God is always
working and the coming of Jesus is the perfect reminder.
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe -
December 12, 2006
Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10,
Maria DeMonte, OP - Elkins Park - Retreat Staff
Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness
of the Americas, and the evangelist of social justice.
In the first reading from the prophet Zechariah, God’s word
goes out to his people to “rejoice” in the good news
that many nations will be joined to his holy people. In the Gospel
of Luke, Elizabeth declares that Mary brings joyful news to her,
as Mary bears the Messiah in her womb. From the beginning, Mary’s
role in God’s plan has been to announce the Good News that
her son, Jesus, is salvation for all peoples, everywhere. Thus,
she holds the title, Evangelist-or in the feminine form, evangelista.
Because of Mary’s visit to Juan Diego at Tepeyac in Mexico,
Mary has been declared the “Patroness of the Americas.”
At Guadalupe, God again chose Mary to become the instrument to deliver
the news to the people of Mexico. By Mary’s visitation to
Juan Diego, the promise of God’s blessings to many nations
is once again fulfilled.
Today’s readings and the story of Guadalupe are reminders
that no matter how humble our origins, we are forever intertwined
with Jesus and Mary. Time and again Jesus spoke of his love for
the poor and the unimportance of worldly status in the Kingdom of
As we celebrate this feast today, may we keep in mind that many
indigenous peoples throughout the world still suffer and are still
denied justice, dignity, and their rightful place in being counted
among God’s people. Whatever our position in life may we strive
to work for such justice, and pray that-Evangelista de las Americas
will intercede for them and for each of us.
Second Wednesday of Advent
December 13, 2006
Isaiah 40:25-31, Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10 Matthew 11:28-30
Patricia Wormann, OP - Caldwell - Pastoral
Associate - Campus Ministry, Hoboken, NJ
In Isaiah and Matthew today, we hear words of hope and comfort.
“They will run and not grow weary for their God will be their
strength”. “Come to me all you who are weary and are
heavy burdened… I will give you rest”
So often at this hectic time of year we get “caught up”
in the expectations and responsibilities of the season and we don’t
take time to stop and recognize the divine within us. We are not
alone. God is continually coming into our lives and inviting us
to see joy and beauty all around us-in the eyes of a child, the
beauty of the new moon, the brightness of the stars, the crispness
of the cold winter air, the lights, decorations and music.
Today we also celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, patron saint of
the blind and those with eye-trouble. Her name means light. May
she intercede for us that we might always have the eyes to see beauty
as well as those who are heavily burdened. May we be a sign of God’s
presence in this season of hope and expectation.
Take time to be still.
Let God fill those parts of your mind and heart that feel scattered.
Look all around you.
What does God invite you to see?
Where will you be “light”?
Second Thursday of Advent
December 14, 2006
Isaiah 41:13-20, Psalms 145:1, 9, 10-11,12-13
Barbara Ann Sgro, OP - Blauvelt - Renew
International - Plainfield, NJ
“Anyone who has ears should listen!” These few but
powerful words that Jesus announces cue us that something very important
is beginning to take shape—certainly we should not miss it!
In clearly identifying John the Baptist as Elijah, Jesus reveals
his own identity as the Messiah, the new Moses. We would hope to
expect acceptance from those who were waiting for the Messiah, but
just the opposite is true. The very fact that John has been imprisoned
for pointing to Jesus, tells us that the coming of the kingdom is
off to a pretty rough start...
Today’s reading can remind us that if we are to take our
preaching seriously, we need to be fully aware of the immensity
of the task. Earlier in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus was preparing
his disciples for rejection— are we ready and willing to accept
the rejection that will come to us as we face the challenges that
exist in our world today?
In order for me to point more effectively to Jesus—to contribute
more meaningfully in shaping the kingdom—what practices do
I need to better engage in? Spend some time this Advent reflecting
on Jesus’ words, “Anyone who has ears should listen!”
Second Friday of Advent
December 15, 2006
Isaiah 48:17-19, Pslams 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
Mary Ann Clausson, OP - Hope -
Physical Therapist Assistant
"I, the Lord, your God, teach you what is for your good, and
lead you on the way you should go. "
How do we hear God and discern what is good and life giving for
us? For more than a year I have had the opportunity of living with
a deaf woman and attempting to learn American Sign Language. When
first attending sign language class, I found it difficult because
you need to be totally focused on the person communicating in order
to read not only the hand signs but the facial expressions and body
The readings for today call us to a deep contemplative listening;
a listening with not just our ears, but our eyes, our senses, our
hearts; truly with our whole selves. It’s paying attention
to not only the Word but to how God speaks to us in other ways;
through other people, events, nature or whatever it is that brings
us into a deeper relationship with our God.
Just as there are difficulties in learning to focus completely
on the person signing, there can be times of difficulty in trying
to discern God’s message and plan for us. In today’s
Gospel we can hear Jesus’ frustration with not being heard
or understood. In these remaining days of Advent with all its activity,
can we slow down and really listen to God’s Word, to the Mystery
in and all around us?
As we endeavor to walk contemplatively through each day and to
be aware of God in all things we will discover the good that God
wants for each of us and the way we are being called to follow.
"And may you be peaceful and joyful and recognize that your
senses are sacred threshholds. May you realize that holiness is
mindful, gazing, feeling, hearing and touching. May your senses
gather you and bring you home" Anam Cara
Second Saturday of Advent
December 16, 2006
Sirach 48:1-4, 9-11, Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19,
Bridget Kiniry, OP - Sparkill
Often when I am waiting for someone and I don’t see them
I start to question myself. Do I have the right time, the right
place? The longer I wait the more I doubt myself and then, I hope
I didn’t miss them.
Advent is a waiting time…what questions do I have?
The disciples had questions. They asked Jesus about Elijah. Wasn’t
he to come first and get the world ready? Jesus answered them, “Elijah
did come and they didn’t recognize him. (John the Baptist)
and look what happened. And many will not recognize the Son of Man.
And so my prayer this day is that I be awake, mindful and aware.
Jesus is surely coming. He is already here. I have missed so many
opportunities of grace in my life. Jesus, let me not miss YOU today.
Third Sunday of Advent
December 17, 2006
Zephaniah 3:14-18, Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6,
Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:10-18
Mary Jane Rolston, OP - Amityville
Conversion and Follow-Up
“…he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with
Conversion alone is not sufficient. Some Christian churches preach
the need of conversion every week, a necessary but insufficient
preaching. It is necessary to break with the past, but also you
have to foresee the future. You have to change and begin a new life.
You need a fresh approach, a new spirituality.
John the Baptizer is a good example of this message. When he baptized
people, they asked him what they should do next. His advice was
radical. They should be honest and fair, which meant that if they
had any extra clothing – two overcoats or tunics – the
second one should be given to someone who had none. Actions speak
louder than words. When people looked at him to see whether he was
serious, he admitted that this was asking much and that he really
could not give them the power to change their lives so radically.
But he added that someone else would come after him who would baptize
them with fire, enabling them to really change their lives and their
John was speaking about Jesus who would come to baptize us with
the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of fire. Jesus not only spoke about
conversion, he equipped us with His Spirit to live new lives that
would make a difference in our world, a life of bearing witness
in a world that needs that Spirit so much.
We, as Women Dominican Religious, believe in change, don’t
Third Monday of Advent
December 18, 2006
Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalms 72:1, 12-13, 18-19,
Linda Jackson, OP - Elkins Park - Campus Ministry -
Coordinator of Faith and
Development at the University of
“Hoping Against Hope”
I recently finished reading a book by Mary C. Grey entitled, “The
Outrageous Pursuit of Hope.” What captivated me most was the
title of the book. Is hope outrageous in our time? As we pray the
scriptures and the newspapers we find that God’s people are
still oppressed. The temptation is to give up in despair. And yet
we are called to the outrageous pursuit of hope. To hope against
hope. To hope when the outcome is beyond our comprehension.
This is when memory and imagination become our stronghold. We
remember the saving power of our God. We imagine the “Lord
our Justice” providing safety and security. We imagine coming
to live in our own land where “justice will flourish and fullness
of peace forever.” In order to imagine we must trust in the
Spirit to guide us just as Joseph was guided in his decision. To
surrender what we know for something beyond our knowing.
During this season, let us join together in prayer and hope. Let
us wait in joyful hope for Emmanuel and let us proclaim our faith
that God is with us.
Holy Wisdom be with us as we seek to open ourselves to your love
and your wholeness. Fill us with your compassionate spirit, so that
we can serve the world into which we are called. It is your breath
that flows through us. Your breath of creative love, peace and justice.
Open us to you, and to your world. Help us in our outrageous pursuit
Third Tuesday of Advent
December 19, 2006
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17,
Kelly Ann Lilis - Caldwell - Youth Preacher Junior
St. Dominic Academy, Jersey City
God’s plan for us often does not match the plans we have
for ourselves. This is because God knows ways in which we can use
our gifts and talents for the benefit of all. God is a source of
hope for all those who despair, for if we believe in Him, He will
bless us in unimaginable ways.
God often surprises us with unexpected events in life that test
our faith. For example, God blessed Manoah’s wife and Elizabeth,
two barren women, with children who would be very important in proclaiming
God’s Word. Events such as that rarely happen today, but everyday
people are blessed with “unexpected guests.” These guests
could be a homeless person you become attached to while volunteering
at a shelter, or a friend with whom you have lost touch. There are
two ways to respond, welcoming the guest, or sending her on her
away. If we welcome the guest and treat her as we would a family
member, our reward from God will be greater than we might have imagined.
If we send the guest away, as we would a stray dog, the same will
be done to us.
Although we may not realize it at the time, God tests us. He is
blessing us with our heart’s desire. Our heart’s desire
is, ultimately, to know God and to do His will. Fulfilling what
we think our heart’s desire is at the moment will only bring
us temporary, if any, happiness.
However, if we respond with actions and words that reflect God’s
grace, we will be forever happy.
Third Wednesday of Advent
December 20, 2006
Isaiah 7:10-14, Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6,
Stefanie Febus – Blauvelt - High School Preacher,
St. Raymond Academy, Bronx, NY
Mary was visited by the angel Gabriel and she was told that God
will bless her with His Son. She would become the mother of Jesus
Mary put all of her trust in God’s plan for her. She was
willing to accept what God was calling her to do. The angel also
told her that God would bless her relative, Elizabeth, with a child.
Even though it was thought to be impossible for her age, God made
“Nothing is impossible for God!” the angel said.
After this, Mary accepted the responsibility by calling herself,
“The Lord’s servant.” She had total faith in God
and did not doubt.
Sometimes in life, God calls us to do things that we are unsure
about. We need to be more like Mary when we have our doubts.
What is God calling you to do? Do you put your trust in God, as
Mary did? If you do, do you truly believe that “Nothing is
impossible for God”?
Third Thursday of Advent
December 21, 2006
The Song of Songs 2:8-14 or Zephaniah 3:14-18,
Psalms 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21, Luke 1:39-45
Beth McCormick, OP - Hope
The readings today abound in rich images of life and beauty. They
are filled with movement: leaps and stirrings, physical and spiritual.
They are all about love and Love’s incarnation.
Two pregnant women stand before us literally embodying God’s
love. Echoes of the Song of Songs whisper within and around the
Visitation story: “leaping across the hills,. . . my beautiful
one, come!” “Hark, my love . . .here he comes.”
Seeing, hearing, touching and, I’m sure a holy fragrance compose
the very human picture.
Mary and Elizabeth meet at a moment of wonder in each of their
lives. In this hour of confusion they also share a faith knowledge
that provokes prophetic words of blessing from Elizabeth. Mary has
blessed Elizabeth with her visit. In response Elizabeth blesses
Mary for her trust in God and for the remarkable “fruit of
The two women have said “Yes,” no matter the hardship,
to the word of God they know well. They have experienced God’s
love and they know it is a love that transforms, that sustains life’s
cycles of joy and sadness.
And they invite us to reflection: Do we “meet” each
other with the same loving vitality as Mary and Elizabeth? Have
we as a people something to learn from them about “meeting”
all other peoples, all other creatures, even the universe itself?
“May all the earth reverence the Beloved, may everyone stand
in awe of Love” (Ps.33, Psalms for Praying, Nan Merrill)
Third Friday of Advent
December 22, 2006
First Samuel 1:24-28,
Psalms First Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8,
Peggy Scarano, OP– Sparkill
It is three days before Christmas and each year, without fail,
I seem to get “caught-up” with a personal checklist:
are the cards written and mailed; presents bought and wrapped; holiday
dinner menu ready for the family gathering? And then pause and remind
myself: It’s three days until Christmas! - time to think about
reflecting on a very different inventory. And so using today’s
readings I ask myself:
- How am I like Hannah?
Can I hand-over my needs to God & be grateful for what I have?
- How am I like Mary?
Her words of greeting to Elizabeth proclaim the greatness of God.
I ask myself: do I really believe that all is possible with God?
- And today’s O Antiphon calls upon our God as the ‘source
of unity and faith’.
Do I take these gifts for granted?
Definitely an inventory much more profound then my personal checklist.
As we near the end of these Advent days go beyond the list of ‘things
to do’ and using today’s responsorial psalm pray the
Song of Hannah:
“My heart exults in Yahweh…my being is exalted in my
God…”It is three days to Christmas – What’s
your personal inventory?
Third Saturday of Advent
December 23, 2006
Malachi 3:1-4, 23- 24, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
Therese Monaghan, OP - Amityville
Pain teaches us. Illness and death, losses and disappointments—all
of life provides opportunities for growth, that is, if we accept
Zachariah was a good and righteous man but he doubted the Angel’s
message. He was bound to silence until the baby was born. Out of
that purifying period Zachariah grew in faith. “His name is
John" he wrote confidently.
Often we afflict ourselves with unnecessary suffering: clinging
to hurts, holding on to past grievances and resentments. Purification
then becomes the refiner’s fire as Malachi describes it. We
need to be cleansed of these grievances to be available for Divine
love and light and peace not only in our joys but also in our pain.
Advent is a time of purification. How have we accepted painful moments?
What do we still need to let go of in order to enter more fully
into the profundity of God’s coming? When Zachariah’s
tongue was freed, Luke tells us that he blessed God. To praise,
to bless, to give thanks are the fruits of purification. This is
the glory of new birth.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 24, 2006
Micah 5:1-4, Psalms 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19,
Hebrews 10:5-10, Luke 1:39-45
Patricia Mood, OP - Elkins Park - Liturgist/Musician
Dominican Retreat House -
Councilor Dominican Sisters of
Remember when you were a child, how often you were told: “You’re
too small”? This description usually meant you could not participate,
such as ride the roller coaster, or swim at the deep end. How disappointing
to be reminded that we were “not _____ enough”! But
let us see how God views such “smallness”.
Micah has God telling the “little town” of Bethlehem
that, despite the fact it has been considered small and unimportant
in human eyes, it was called to an even greater destiny.
Likewise, God calls us, despite our “unimportance”.
No matter how seemingly insignificant, we are each called as God’s
own. Jesus came to earth to show us the human face of God…to
be “God with skin on”, we might say. Born in Bethlehem,
“House of Bread”, he became Bread for us, and calls
us to become bread for others…to become a “house of
bread”, another “Bethlehem”.
In light of God’s call, can we still consider ourselves
insignificant? Dare we believe that in God’s eyes, we are
“___ enough” to be part of the Divine plan? Dare we
believe God will do great things in, with, and for us? Dare we believe
Christ calls us to be bread for others: taken, blessed, broken and
shared, that others may find life? Dare we believe that we CAN make
a difference in a broken world desperately seeking the human face
of God today? Dare we trust that God’s word to us will be
Christmas Day - Midnight (Christmas Mass during the day,
December 25, 2006
Isaiah 9:1-6, Psalms 96:1-2, 2-3, 11-12, 13
Titus 2:11-14, Luke 2:1-14
Louis Squittieri, OPA - Caldwell
Darkness, Light: Dusk, Dawn: Night, Day. The five senses intricately
entwined in these six words. We think of them as opposites, and
yet, it is possible to see them together, blended as one, Trinity-like
on their everyday journey.
Isaiah proclaims the birth of a child, a light to shine in the darkness.
He equates that light as a gentle force, relieving the sadness,
casting aside cares of the day to be replaced by joy over life’s
...”Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of
Peace”.... Isaiah’s names for a child waving his arms
in hope from a Christmas cradle, the same child David proclaims
in his psalm as bringing us to salvation so we can make a joyful
shout to our Lord.
Paul writing to Titus about our great hope, Jesus Christ, who spread
those arms out on a cross in the most perfect act of love, so we
could be saved, so we could rejoice, so we could proclaim that this
same Jesus Christ is Lord.
And Luke’s beloved story of stories, the one that in today’s
day and age seems to peep out from the side lines, instead of taking
center stage. The one that is hidden behind holly and ivy, wrapped
gifts under evergreens, people under mistletoe. That story of a
husband and wife who said, :”Yes, Lord.” That story
about a special Orthodox Jewish woman giving birth in a manger to
a baby, who two thousand years later still impacts the world.
Christmas readings. Bring them to life today and everyday. If we
bring this day to reality, then every day will become a real journey
toward light, toward spirit, toward Christ: a Trinity in itself.
December 25, 2006
Isaiah 52:7-10, Psalm 98:1-6, Hebrews 1:1-6,
John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 1-14
Paul M. Lepore - Blauvelt - Dominican College Preacher -
During this holiday season, all of us can be enlightened by taking
a moment to reflect on the spiritual wisdom of Isaiah: “Those
who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar with
eagles’ wings.” Isaiah proclaims the coming of the lord,
and, moreover, the presence of salvation. It offers to me a breath
of fresh air, and comfort knowing that God is present.
It is often difficult to conceptualize the birth of the lord our
God. While reflecting on this reading I wondered to myself if I
were lucky enough to witness the birth of Jesus what would I say?
What would my gift to him be? Would I fully understand his awe-striking
and ultimate power and love?
It is beyond exciting to realize the good news of salvation. Saint
Augustine said that “God became human so that humans might
become God.” I believe that the best gift a person can give
to God is simply to share love with others. We are called to demonstrate
God’s love. This is why the Christmas season brings an abundance
of cheer and good will. Jesus would want the gift we give others
to be the same gifts he gave everyone. That is forgiveness, and
Furthermore, as Isaiah tells us, we must sound the trumpets and
proclaim that our lord is here. We must tell all that our God and
Lord is kind and loving and is the source of salvation. By doing
this we are not living for Jesus, rather we are living in Jesus.