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Showing posts from December, 2018

Feast of St. Thomas Becket

The Feast of Thomas Becket.

Help us, like Thomas, defend and preserver our Lord’s church from those who would harm it. Amen.

There is no more celebrated English saint than Thomas Becket. A strong churchman who wavered for a moment, but then learned one cannot come to terms with evil, and so became a a defender of the faith, a protector of the church, a martyr, and a saint. Thomas Becket, archbishop of Canterbury, murdered in his own cathedral during Christmastide - December 29, 1170.

His career had been a stormy one. While archdeacon of Canterbury, he was made chancellor of England at the age of 36 by his friend King Henry II. Henry and Thomas had been comrades, and the king had nominated him for Archbishop of Canterbury in part because he thought he could influence him.

Thomas gave him fair warning: he might not accept all of Henry’s intrusions into Church affairs.
Nevertheless, in 1162 he was made archbishop, resigned his chancellorship, and reformed his whole way of life.  When Be…

The Feast of the Holy Innocents - December 28

The Feast of the Holy Innocents.

The importance of all life is profoundly evident today.
Herod “the Great,” king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his wife, his brother, and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.

Matthew 2:1-18 tells this story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of “the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts, and warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.

Herod became furious and “ordered the massacre of all t…

December 27th. The Feast of St. John

The Feast of Saint John - the Apostle’s Story

It is God who calls; human beings answer.

St. John "the beloved disciple" was a Galilean, son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother to St. James the Greater, The vocation of John and James is stated in the Gospels: Jesus called them; they followed. The absoluteness of their response is indicated by the account. James and John “were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him” (Matthew 4:21b-22).

Jesus showed St. John particular instances of kindness and affection above all the rest. He had the happiness to be with Peter and James at the Transfiguration of Christ, and was permitted to witness His agony in the Garden. He was allowed to rest on Our Savior's bosom at the Last Supper, and and the one to whom Jesus gave the exquisite honor of caring for his mother, as John stood beneath the cross. “Woman, behold your son…. Behold, you…

December 26th. St. Stephen

The Feast of St. Stephen

The day after Christmas, let us not take our eyes off the transformative presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. A child will become great and mighty. Jesus meets violence with love, hate with peace. From the manger to cross and the resurrection, Jesus transforms lives.

Thus on the second day in the octave of Christmas the Church celebrates the Feast of St. Stephen. The first Christian martyr and one of the first deacons. Stoned outside Jerusalem, he died praying for his executioners.

In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke praises St. Stephen as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” who “did great wonders and signs among the people” during the earliest days of the Church. Luke's history of the period also includes the moving scene of Stephen's death – witnessed by St. Paul before his conversion – at the hands of those who refused to accept Jesus as the Jewish Messiah.

Stephen himself was a Jew who most likely came to believe in Jesus during the Lord…

Christmas

As we journey toward the holiest of nights, it is often easy to overlook the miraculous. Wonder and reverence are often relegated to the past. Yet, the reality of the Incarnation still shines out over the glare of commercialism, nationalism, secularism, and individualism.  God, in humble submission, peered into our eyes from a manger so that our enslavement to sin and death would end. God with us; divine life so that we can have life. It is not a myth, a feel-good story or abstract theology. A child born unto Mary, a child born unto us, was laid in a manger. "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High." In him the Alpha and Omega are forever one, and "His Kingdom will know no end." Jesus is the purest truth ever known.  Let us not be flippant with the purity Christmas story. Hold each moment of Christmas in blessed contemplation. While the rest of the world moves from one social celebration to the next, or laments the supposed death of the Churc…