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From the Preaching Promoters
of the Northeast6
Amityville, Blauvelt, Caldwell,
Elkins Park, Hope and Sparkill
More reflections
are available from
the Columbus
Dominican's site.

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. 33: 14).

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!

First Tuesday of Advent
December 5, 2006

Isaiah 11:1-10, Psalms 72:1, 7-8, 12-13, 17,
Luke 10:21-24
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 remember why.

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,
Matthew 15:29-37

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 extraordinary.

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 gifts.

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 and challenged:
- 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 me.

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
Luke 5:17-26
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.

Second Tuesday of Advent
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe -
December 12, 2006

Isaiah 40:1-11, Psalms 96:1-2, 3, 10, 11-12, 13
Matthew 18:12-14
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 God.

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
Matthew 11:11-15
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
Matthew 11:16-19
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 language.

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,
Matthew 17:10-13
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 fire.”

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 world.

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 we?

Third Monday of Advent
December 18, 2006

Jeremiah 23:5-8, Psalms 72:1, 12-13, 18-19,
Matthew 1:18-24
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 of hope.


Third Tuesday of Advent
December 19, 2006

Judges 13:2-7, 24-25, Psalms 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17,
Luke 1:5-25
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,
Luke 1:26-38
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 Christ.

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 it possible.

“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 her womb.”

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,
Luke 1:46-56
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
Luke 1:57-66
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 what comes.

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
Elkins Park

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 fulfilled?

Christmas Day - Midnight (Christmas Mass during the day, below)
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 very existence.

...”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.

Christmas Day
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 -
Orangeburg, NY

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 compassion.

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.


2006 Advent  

click on the calendar date
to read today's thought.

Dear Reader,

The Northeast Promoters of Preaching are pleased to present the Advent Reflection Booklet for 2006. This booklet will help us to be united in prayer as we prepare for the feast of Christmas.

As Dominicans, we are called to study and ponder the Word, and share with others the “fruits of our contemplation.” We are most grateful to our sisters and brothers who shared with us the “fruits of their contemplation.”

We pray that these daily insights and meditations will inspire and challenge us to live fully each day of Advent.

May the Word continue to fire you with a passionate love of God and our universe.

In Dominic and Catherine,

Pat Anglin, OP
Mary Ann Collins, OP
Alice McCoy, OP
Nancy Garson, OP
Elkins Park
Maureen Sullivan, OP
Kathy Logan, OP
















































































































































































































































































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