Articles for Christmas

Saturday after Epiphany

January 8, 2022

  St. John writes, “Children, be on your guard against idols.” When I think of “idols” I most often think of small stone statues that a non-Christian might have adorning their house. Since I don’t worship statues, I should be fine, right? Perhaps a better way to examine our conscience might be to ask, “What,…

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Friday after Epiphany

January 7, 2022

  You need a retreat. Yes, you! Jesus finds Himself in the midst of full-time healing ministry—cleansing the leper and having great crowds assembled before Him to listen to His words and seek his healing power. He must have felt pressure and responsibility to minister to all of these people, but He also felt a…

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Thursday after Epiphany

January 6, 2022

  St. John writes, “If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar…” If these words don’t make you at least a little uncomfortable, then carefully read them again. Servant of God Dorothy Day reflected a similar sentiment when she wrote: “I really only love God as much as the…

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Memorial of St. Neumann, bishop

January 5, 2022

  St. John writes, “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.” Faith takes root and people are transformed when they come to a “heart knowledge” of this reality of God’s love. I have seen it again and again in spiritual direction and in the lives of my…

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Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious

January 4, 2022

  St. John reminds us of the foundational truth necessary for our lives: God is love, and God first loved us. Love is both the foundation of our life of faith and the test of our faith. Love must demonstrate itself in practice. Jesus shows us what love is as His heart is moved with…

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Monday after Epiphany

January 3, 2022

  Discernment is a word that is rather common if you work in seminary formation, but for most people, it’s probably not one that enters into your everyday conversation. Discernment is the ability to judge well, or distinguish between choices or options. Most often in the Christian context, it has to do with distinguishing between…

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The Epiphany of the Lord

January 2, 2022

    The story of salvation history is a story of adventure, of people on a journey. Abram is called away from his homeland to go to a land God would show him. Moses is to lead his people out of Egypt, Jesus’ disciples are sent out two by two. When we seek God, we…

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Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2022

  Not many of us have left Mass on Corpus Christi crying out: “Transubstantiation!” Not many of us here have probably ever left the Feast of Christ the King to shout: “Viva Cristo Rey!” Yet in the year 431 after the Council of Ephesus, the common folk of that city ran through the streets in…

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The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 31, 2021

  As we become more technologically advanced, we think less about times and seasons. Even farmers who are tied to land and weather have found ways to overcome much. Here in the country, farmers’ wives lament that farm implements now have headlights and that they plant and harvest without ending when the sun goes down.…

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The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 30, 2021

  I find myself jealous of the Evangelists at times – only four men got to write Christ’s story, inspired by the Holy Spirit. When we consider the differences in the gospels, we consider that they were not just chroniclers of facts but also storytellers. In other words, they used details to bring out greater…

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The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 29, 2021

  For the first time in Scripture, we find someone happy to die: St. Simeon. Before this, death was a punishment or at the very least a resignation. Even King David rests with his ancestors but not without running from rivals and enemies and mourning the loss of his son Absalom. Now, Simeon is happy…

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Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

December 28, 2021

  There are horrible martyrs’ feasts, and then there are horrible martyrs’ feasts. It is difficult to think of anything more detestable than the slaughter of innocent children. Yet, those are the martyrdoms we celebrate today. It is a hard feast to celebrate, but we note the sacrifice of these little ones who were embraced…

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Feast of St. John, Apostle and evangelist

December 27, 2021

  The arrival of Apostles Peter and John at the Empty Tomb on Easter morning represents two forms of the Church. St. John is the Mystical Church that arrives at the tomb first, but does not go inside – it sees the mystery glimpsed from afar. In contrast, the Hierarchical Church is represented by Peter…

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Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

December 26, 2021

    Once in eighth grade, I passed out, hit the back of my head on a desk, and had a seizure. I remember waking to a circle of my classmates above me with faces full of horror. I felt the back of my head thinking it must have been broken and bleeding but it…

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The Baptism of the Lord

January 10, 2021

    Throughout the scriptures, we get to witness the dramatic event of the ‘heavens being torn open.’ It can be a unique and frightening event that manifests God’s very presence among us. We can call to mind the story in Exodus of God’s coming to Israel on the mountain of Sinai where they received…

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Saturday after Epiphany

January 9, 2021

  There’s a flashback today in the Gospel to the time before John the Baptist was imprisoned. He’s asked about why Jesus is baptizing and why the people are going to Him. John is humble in saying that the “bridegroom has the bride,” and the best man rejoices to take part in the wedding and…

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Friday after Epiphany

January 8, 2021

  “Who is the victor over the World? The one who believes in Jesus Christ…” We have our victory in the Lord Jesus. He is the one who conquers sin and adversity. He delivers us from all the problems we have. I remember reading a book by Dinesh D’Souza, a Christian writer. He dedicated this…

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Thursday after Epiphany

January 7, 2021

  Reading this section of First John is a challenge for me because I haven’t always lived by this maxim, “Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” In elementary school and in junior high, I fought often. I didn’t respect others as I should have. I acted like a bully and was bullied back…

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Wednesday after Epiphany

January 6, 2021

  Amongst Catholics, very few topics hit the raw nerve of people like liturgy. Yes, liturgy. I want to discuss this because it’s so important to our faith. Jesus did say that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. God inspired religion in order to bring us closer to him. If…

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Memorial of St. John Neumann, Bishop

January 5, 2021

  I will often look over the readings for the coming week when writing a reflection like this and think, “what is the best way to approach this?” I’ve found that I can’t really write a good reflection unless it’s something that touched my heart first. I can only write or give a witness to…

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Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious

January 4, 2021

  As we move from the Epiphany to the Lord’s Baptism, we hear today about the arrest of John the Baptist in the Gospel reading. Jesus “withdrew to Galilee.” John’s arrest seems to have affected Jesus deeply. They were both cousins, and John played an important role in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. There are…

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The Epiphany of the Lord

January 3, 2021

    Introductory Note: Many of my reflections are taken from an essay I wrote for the American Benedictine Review’s annual writing contest. The theme I chose to write on was the glory of God at work in our life. I humbly pray my writing will contribute to your own prayer and meditation. This is…

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Memorial of Sts Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church

January 2, 2021

  Saints Basil and Gregory Nazianzen, whose feast we commemorate today, were lifelong friends. They studied rhetoric together in the best schools, they lived a monastic life together, and later as bishops, they spurned each other on to greatness working out theology on the nature of the Trinity. We intuitively know that friendship is important,…

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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

January 1, 2021

  In the year 428, there was a raging controversy in the Church over whether Mary could be called Mother of God—Theotokos in Greek. The dispute pitted Nestorius, the patriarch of Constantinople, against Cyril, the patriarch of Alexandria in Egypt. Nestorius claimed that Mary is the mother only of the human Jesus, not of the…

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The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 31, 2020

  John begins today’s gospel with “in the beginning was the Word,” and says in the first reading, “it is the last hour.” At least for John and the scriptures in general, the beginning and end of time are marked, not by Big Bangs, but by the absolute sovereignty and rule of Christ. However, the…

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The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 30, 2020

  Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” In the spiritual life, our souls also grow in strength, wisdom, and grace. But unlike our physical body, which reaches a certain maturity and then begins to decline, our soul keeps growing through every age, every experience, every…

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The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

December 29, 2020

  There is an ancient tradition that a child is not given to parents by God but only loaned to them for a short time. The Jewish rites surrounding birth contained this belief, especially of the first-born son. The Presentation of Jesus in the temple had a significance his parents did not fully grasp. He,…

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Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

December 28, 2020

  One can hardly imagine an evil more heinous than killing innocent children, nor a scene more heart-wrenching than their mothers witnessing and enduring such a violent act. This feast of the Holy Innocents presents us so quickly after the Christmas celebration of light and love, a reminder of the human heart’s darkest potential and…

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Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

December 27, 2020

    On this Holy Family Sunday, the Gospel reading is obviously about the Holy Family. In particular, this year, we hear the passage about the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. There are five figures in this scene: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna. In my reflection today, I will focus on Joseph. Joseph…

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Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr

December 26, 2020

  It is commonly accepted among scripture scholars that the stories of Jesus’ birth and infancy were the last parts of the gospels to be written. As the early Christians tried to grasp the meaning of Christ, they first reflected on his death and resurrection. In stages, they looked back to understand his teaching and…

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