Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

“Annunciazione” by Pietro Perugino, ca 1489

We break from our Lenten fast to keep the Solemnity of the Annunciation, when Gabriel delivered God’s message to Mary and she said yes

 Visit Deacon Jim‘s weblog, Servant of the Word, for today’s liturgy and homily

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Today–when we celebrate Epiphany— is one of my favorite days in the liturgical calendar.  It is the day I get to move the magi into the manger scene, and as a kid, I always loved rearranging, gazing on and meditating before the Nativity set we had under the tree.

In today’s homily, Fr. Tom told us about a friend of his from Peru who had never heard of Santa Clause until he got here to America.  (Santa Claus is a very European tradition.)   His family did not celebrate Christmas Day in the way we do here.  They gathered, went to mass and had a wonderful feast dinner.  But it wasn’t until Epiphany that they exchanged gifts.  On the morning of Epiphany, the children would rise to find gifts from the magi who had been following the star searching for the Lord.  The children would be told that when the magi came to the family’s house, the magi found the love of Christ so strong, they were sure that the Christ child was there, so they left gifts for Him….and those of course became what we would think of as Santa gifts.

Fr. Tom gave us homework.  He told us to make Epiphany a day of gift-giving “from the heart.  A day to give something of our faith to those we love–a Bible, a spiritual book, Rosary, whatever.”  He said, “Wouldn’t that be something?”

Inviting gifts of the season by having a Christ-centered, loving home.  An Epiphany gift given from the heart.  Wouldn’t that be something?

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January 3

The Epiphany of the LORD

Sixteen hundred years ago, St. Augustine observed how curious it was that the scribes Herod consulted knew from the scriptures where the Messiah was to be born, and yet made no effort to accompany the magi.  They were so close, but chose to be blind. Augustine noted that this blindness opened the door for the rest of us, symbolized by these magi.  The infant Jesus could not speak with his tongue, and the pagans did not have the scriptures, so he spoke through a star.  They saw, came, worshiped, and then returned home.  But not by the same way they had come.  There is a literal explanation for this, tied to Herod’s malice.  But, as usual, Augustine finds also a deeper significance.  They did not use the same road, because they were no longer the same themselves.

An encounter with Christ changes people, the old ways no longer suffice.  The same dynamics of conversion should be continually at work in us.  As we come better to know Christ, we leave behind patterns of life that exclude his presence.

What do I need to leave behind, to welcome with joy the manifestation of God in Jesus?

Fr. James Flint, O.S.B. (from Scripture Reflections, We Celebrate Worship Resource, World Library Publications)  (some editing by LuceMichael)


The talented Canadian Christian band Downhere doing their song, How Many Kings.

Follow the star to a place unexpected / Would you believe after all we’ve projected / A child in a manger / Lowly and small, the weakest of all / Unlikeliest hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl / Just a child / Is this who we’ve waited for?


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Christian family feel called to adopt two Ethiopian sisters.  On flight home, a Muslim terrorist almost ends their lives.  The family reacts by holding hands, praying and singing.  This is how its done, folks. 

From the Chicago Tribune:

Members of a Wisconsin family aboard a Northwest Airlines flight in which a Nigerian man allegedly tried to set off an explosive on Christmas Day said their faith helped them endure the ordeal.

The Keepman family’s nearly 30-hour journey started with the adoption of two orphans from Ethiopia. But near the end of their flight back to the United States, they tried to stave off the fear from the attempted bombing by holding hands and singing “Jesus Loves Me” at the back of the airplane bound for Detroit.

The ordeal happened about 20 minutes before the plan landed, said Charles Keepman, 53, whose family lives in Oconomowoc, Wis., about 35 miles west of Milwaukee.

“We heard a pop and then smelled the fumes,” Keepman said. “It smelled like burning wire, actually. And I thought that’s what it was.”

But then two flight attendants hustled to the back of the plane, where Keepman sat with his wife, Scotti, 51, daughter Richelle, 24, and the Keepmans’ two new children, 6-year-old Arsema and 8-year-old Ytabarek. The attendants were getting fire extinguishers from the luggage racks about two rows behind the Keepmans.

“The fear in their eyes was horrific, and we knew there was something much more serious than the wires,” Keepman said.

The kids remained relatively calm, but Keepman, his wife and daughter knew they might die, Keepman said. Still, he said they felt at peace.

“Our journey with Christ, we knew where we were going to go was heaven,” Keepman said, adding that he believes their faith kept him and his family alive.

Taking up two rows, Keepman wrapped his hands around the back of his seat and his daughter put her hands through the middle of her and her father’s seats to reach back and clench hands with Scotti Keepman and the two children. Then they bowed their heads, prayed and sang.

Christmas Flight 253: Wisconsin family says faith helped them through Detroit jet scare – chicagotribune.com

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…whenever we say “yes” to God’s will.  –Fr. Tom, Midnight Mass homily

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God’s amazing plan…

We remember it today, we celebrate it, and hopefully we are awed by it. 

May peace be with you all throughout this year.  May the wonder of God’s creation and Jesus’ incarnation stay with you long past the removal of your Christmas lights.  Please keep me, my family, your pastor, the Church and Pope Benedict in your prayers.  You are in mine.

God bless you.

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Associated Press reports:

Woman knocks down Pope at Christmas Eve Mass

By ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writer Ariel David, Associated Press Writer 20 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – A woman jumped the barriers in St. Peter’s Basilica and knocked down Pope Benedict XVI as he walked down the main aisle to begin Christmas Eve Mass on Thursday.

The 82-year-old pope quickly got up and was unhurt, said a Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Ciro Benedettini. Footage aired on Italy’s RAI state TV showed a woman dressed in a red jumper vaulting over the wooden barriers and rushing the pope before being swarmed by bodyguards.

The commotion occurred as the pope’s procession was making its way toward the main altar and shocked gasps rang out through the public that packed the basilica. The procession came to a halt and security rushed to the trouble spot.

Benedettini said the woman who pushed the pope appeared to be mentally unstable and had been arrested by Vatican police. He said she also knocked down Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who was taken to hospital for a check up.

“During the procession an unstable person jumped a barrier and knocked down the Holy Father,” Benedettini told The Associated Press by telephone. “(The pope) quickly got up and continued the procession.”

After the incident, Benedict, flanked by tense bodyguards, resumed his walk to the basilica’s main altar to start the Mass. He did appear somewhat shaken and leaned heavily on aides and an armrest as he sat down in his chair.

Benedict made no reference to the incident as the service started. As a choir sang, he sprinkled incense on the altar before opening the Mass with the traditional wish for peace in Latin: “Pax vobis” (“Peace be with you”). The faithful responded: “Et cum spiritu tuo” (“And also with you”).

It was the second year in a row there was a security breach at the service. At the end of last year’s Mass a woman who had jumped the barriers got close to the pope but was quickly blocked on the ground by security.

Benedettini said it was not immediately known if the same woman was behind Thursday’s incident.

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