Gaudete in Domino Semper! — Rejoice in the Lord always; Again I say rejoice! The Lord is near! (Entrance Antiphon; cf. Phil 4:4-5)
Today, being the third Sunday of Advent, we celebrate Gaudete or “Rejoice” Sunday. Festive, rose-colored vestments, instead of the violet. The reason we call this Sunday Gaudete Sunday is that the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Mass begins with the Latin: Gaudete in Domino Semper, which means, Rejoice in the Lord always.
The words rejoice and joy appear over a hundred times each throughout the Old and the New Testaments of the Holy Bible. (In the Old Testament they appear in the Psalms, Proverbs, Sirach, Tobit, Isaiah, Zechariah, Joel, and others.) In the New Testament they are used by our Lord several times in His parables and His other teachings, by Saints Peter and Paul, and is part of Mary’s Magnificat.READ MORE
My brothers and sisters, now with the beginning of a new liturgical year, we enter a new cycle of Gospel readings, this year, the year C of the cycle, we hear mostly from Gospel of Luke. Luke, in addition to being a physician, is an historian, and so he is conscious about writing the historical fact of the time and place of the real events. Have you ever wondered why God came into that place at that time? Even though you and I might so often skim over the unfamiliar names and places mentioned in the Gospels, they are important because not only do they give credibility of the historical real events, but they also give meaningful context to the readers who did know of the people and places mentioned. And so, Luke begins this Gospel: “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, … during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas”. Even though you and I have heard of the names of Tiberius Caesar, Pilate, Herod, and so on, in hearing and reading the Gospels, we probably don’t really know who these people were. Each of the names mentioned were people who had made wrong choices and had done evil things. For example, Tiberius was the emperor from year 14AD to 37AD, so 23 years, for the entire adult life and ministry of Jesus. Well, of all the emperors of Rome, it is written that Tiberius was the most depraved and wicked. Even though the Roman empire was peaceful during his reign, Tiberius’ personal life was extremely immoral. Similarly, the Gospels speak of the dishonesty of the governor, Pontius Pilate. There are non-Christians’ accounts that testify that Pilate was known for corruption, acts of insolence, inhumane cruelty and murder of untried, un-condemned people. Sounds pretty bad, right? Well, that is how the politicians behaved at that time, so what about the religious people serving in the Temple? Luke specifies that Annas and Caiaphas were high priests at that time, unfortunately, Annas and Caiaphas were both deposed from their high priesthood for various wicked acts they were engaged in. Therefore, Luke is giving the reader the political and spiritual context of the times, times in which there were evil leaders, corrupt governors, and even scandalous high priests.READ MORE
As I write this, it’s been 48 hours without pain in my right foot. Well, out of respect for someone with real pain, I’ll call it being discomfort-free. You may recognize me as the person who hobbled around church on a knee crutch for a few months after having blown out my Achilles tendon playing racquetball with my son. Post-surgery and rehab, I’ve had more or less continuous tenderness in my right foot. More on that in a minute…READ MORE
I consider myself a re-vert, a cradle Catholic, as well as a convert. I know that sounds crazy, but I can explain.
My father was Catholic and my mother a new convert to Catholicism. I was baptized in ‘62 and received all of the sacraments. I grew up under a much misguided understanding of Vatican II. My parents were deeply influenced by the progressive spirit of the Counsel. Consequently, that misguided spirit colored my perception of Catholicism. By high school I was questioning the faith and this questioning was met with no answers or, as I now know, incorrect answers. My questioning continued as I went to college, met my first husband and had my daughter. I expected my marriage to work because I was taught and believed that marriage was forever. Unfortunately, that firm belief alone was not enough to make it work, especially when faith had not informed my selection process of a life-time mate. The relationship proved destructive before the vows were even finished and it lasted two painful years. The failure of my marriage was brutally devastating to my sense of self. I thought that if this was the best influence Catholicism could have in my life, then it wasn’t for me. This experience sealed my belief that the Church was void of the sacred and was a closed community, in which there was no place for someone like me, someone divorced. For me, this was the finish of any Catholic faith.READ MORE
Today we begin the 4-week season of Advent, which is, of course, preparation for the birth of Christ in a manger at Christmas. So, be honest, when you heard the Gospel today, how many of you thought that we made a mistake and read last week’s readings instead of today's? If you were expecting to begin hearing about Mary and Joseph and the nice peaceful first coming of the baby Jesus, instead of the terrifying signs of the end of time and the 2nd coming of Christ in great power and glory, that is understandable. But we need to reflect on the importance of both of the comings of Christ and ask ourselves: how are we approaching the second person of the Trinity who is both fully human and fully Divine?READ MORE