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Sunday, December 31, 2023

Photo: A blue Christmas


Prayer: Karl Rahner, S.J.

Only in love can I find You, O God. In love the gates of my soul spring open, allowing me to breathe a new air of freedom, and forget my own petty self. In love my whole being streams forth out of the rigid confines of narrowness and anxious self-assertion, which makes me a prisoner of my own poverty and emptiness. In love all the powers of my soul flow out toward you, wanting never more to return, but to lose themselves completely in you, since by your love you are the inmost center of my heart, closer to me than I am to myself.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Prayer by Elizabeth Johnson – Consider Jesus p. 115

When human beings whom God loves suffer, God is present with them, compassionately loving them through the suffering, desiring life for them, and acting to bring it about when human forces have played themselves out.

Friday, December 29, 2023

Photo: Suite


Poem: “The Nativity of Christ” by Robert Southwell, S.J.

 Behold the father is the daughter’s son:

The bird that built the nest is hatched therein:

The old of years an hour hath not outrun:

Eternal life to live doth now begin,

The word is dumb: the mirth of heaven doth weep:

Might feeble is: and force doth faintly creep.


O dying souls, behold your living spring:

O dazzled eyes, behold your sun of grace:

Dull ears, attend what word this word doth bring,

Up, heavy hearts: with joy your joy embrace.

From death, from dark, from deafness, from despairs:

This life, this light, this word, this joy repairs.


Gift better than himself, God doth not know:

Gift better than his God, no man can see:

This gift doth here the giver given bestow:

Gift to this gift let each receiver be.

God is my gift, himself he freely gave me:

God’s gift am I, and none but God shall have me.


Man altered was by sin from man to beast:

Beasts’ food is hay, hay is all mortal flesh:

Now God is flesh, and lies in Manger pressed

As hay, the brutest sinner to refresh.

O happy field wherein this fodder grew,

Whose taste doth us from beasts to men renew.

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Peace through Right Relations: The Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, 2023

                                           Peace through Right Relations:

The Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, 2023 

December 31, 2023

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Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3; Psalm 105; Hebrews 11:8-19; Luke 2:22-40



The difficulties Joseph and Mary faced in raising Jesus becomes evident in today’s readings. On Christmas Day, we hear the beautiful story of the Incarnation, which is God choosing to be with us. The very following day, Scripture tells us about Steven, the first martyr in the faith, to highlight that discipleship is risky and demands that we make a choice. The serenity of Christmas does not last long. Three days after Christmas Day, we read that Herod slaughters the innocent boys of Bethlehem because he saw them as a threat to his throne. The innocence of Christmas does not last long.


In today’s Gospel, we hear that Joseph and Mary brings Jesus to the Temple to present him to God’s care. It is akin to what we do at baptism of our young children. We seek God’s protection and guidance. We want to know that God is near. The parents of Jesus fulfill their devotional duty and keep Jesus in right relations with God. The first reading from Sirach encourages proper and right relations among family and neighbors, realizing that God is about maintaining proper relationships. The readings from Colossians that St. Paul spoke outlines how a disciple of God must act – with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Discipleship is about maintaining and bringing about right relations within our families and with neighbors.


How then are we to respond to the images we have seen on the news about Christians of Bethlehem not being able to celebrate the Incarnation this year? Christians placed figurines of the Holy Family in the rubble that has become of the land. With no joy nor any hope, how does one celebrate Christmas? A name we give to Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but it seems like our world at times is far from it. It seems like each Christmastime that comes around we each need to have our own Christmas Carol moment, our own Scrooge or Grinch moment, where our heart expands in love, which entails compassion and mercy for those who are suffering. Prayer is ineffective if we simply offer up our thoughts and good wishes; prayer is effective if we act upon it now.


That is not to say that we are going to solve the world’s wars and conflicts with our prayerful actions. We are not. We can however bring peace and goodwill to those places in our world where love once existed and no longer does. Christmas is a reconciling moment between God and humanity; we must further that work by reconciling with those in our immediate corners of life. We each have relationships that are broken and need mending. Our prayer is to give us the fortitude, the courage, the insight to try again, to become vulnerable in our hopes of bridging the gap that exists between loved ones. We must achieve peace in our hearts, peace in our relationships, if we want to bring about a bigger peace on the world stage. Our attempts to do so might make us experience what Mary did when she felt that sword pierce her heart, a heart broken by a magnanimous love, knowing that her son was destined for the rise and fall of many, but Mary persisted, and so must we if we are to place faith in God. Mary and Joseph teach us about forming right relations as an act of trust in God. 


It is only love that stops the progress of hate and violence in its tracks. It is love that reconciles and atones and binds us together in tighter bonds. It is love that increases compassion and mercy and changes hardened hearts. Our lives are entangled with God’s, and God’s life is intertwined with ours. Our prayer must be followed by our action: we are called to put God’s love into action. Today. Now. Christmas is the celebration that hope will prevail.


Scripture for Daily Mass


Monday: (1 John 3) We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.



Tuesday: (1 John 4) Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us.


Wednesday: (1 John 4) Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God.
Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.


Thursday: (1 John 4) If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 


Friday (1 John 5) Who is the victor of this world? The one who believes in Jesus, who came through water and Blood, and the Spirit testifies to him.   


Saturday (1 John 5) We have confidence that if we ask anything according to his will, God hears us.



Monday: (Matthew 4) He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.


Tuesday: (Mark 6) When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things. By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.


Wednesday (Mark 6) After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. 


Thursday (Luke 4) Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.


Friday (Luke 5) It happened that there was a man full of leprosy in one of the towns where Jesus was; and when he saw Jesus, he fell prostrate, pleaded with him, and said, “Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.” 


Saturday (John 3) Jesus and his disciples went into the region of Judea, where he spent some time with them baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was an abundance of water there, and people came to be baptized, for John had not yet been imprisoned.



Saints of the Week


December 31: Sylvester I, pope (d. 335), served the church shortly after Constantine issued his Edict of Milan in 313 that publicly recognized Christianity as the official religion of the empire and provided it freedom of worship. Large public churches were built by the emperor and other benefactors. Sylvester was alive during the Council of Nicaea but did not attend because of old age.


January 2: Basil the Great and Gregory Nanzianzen, bishops and doctors (fourth century), are two of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. They are known for their preaching especially against the Arian heretics. Basil began as a hermit before he was named archbishop of Caesarea. He influenced Gregory who eventually became archbishop of Constantinople. Their teachings influenced both the Roman and Eastern Churches.


January 3: The Name of Jesus was given to the infant as the angel foretold. In the Mediterranean world, the naming of person stood for the whole person. Humans were given the power to name during the Genesis creation accounts. If one honors the name of the person, they honor the person. The name Jesus means “Yahweh saves.”


January 4: Elizabeth Ann Seton, religious (1774-1821), was born into an Episcopalian household where she married and had five children. When her husband died, she became a Catholic and founded a girls’ school in Baltimore. She then founded the Sisters of Charity and began the foundation for the parochial school system in the U.S. She is the first native-born American to be canonized.


January 5: John Neumann, bishop (1811-1860), emigrated from Bohemia to New York and joined the Redemptorists in Pittsburgh before being named bishop of Philadelphia. He built many churches in the diocese and placed great emphasis on education as the foundation of faith.


January 6: Andre Bessette, religious (1845-1937), was born in Quebec, Canada. He joined the Congregation of the Holy Cross and taught for 40 years at the College of Notre Dame. He cared for the sick and was known as a intercessor for miracles. He built St. Joseph’s Oratory, a popular pilgrimage site in Canada.


This Week in Jesuit History


  • December 31, 1640. John Francis Regis died. He was a missionary to the towns and villages of the remote mountains of southern France. 
  • January 1, 1598: Fr. Alphonsus Barréna, surnamed the Apostle of Peru, died. He was the first to carry the faith to the Guaranis and Chiquitos in Paraguay. 
  • January 2, 1619: At Rome, John Berchmans and Bartholomew Penneman, his companion scholastic from Belgium, entered the Roman College. 
  • January 3, 1816: Fr. General Brzozowski and 25 members of the Society, guarded by soldiers, left St. Petersburg, Russia, having been banished by the civil government. 
  • January 4, 1619: The English mission is raised to the status of a province. 
  • January 5, 1548: Francis Suarez, one of the greatest theologians of the church, was born at Granada. 
  • January 6, 1829: Publication of Pope Leo XII's rescript, declaring the Society to be canonically restored in England.

Paz a través de relaciones correctas: La Familia de José, María y Jesús, 2023

                                      Paz a través de relaciones correctas:

La Familia de José, María y Jesús, 2023

31 de diciembre de 2023

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Génesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3; Salmo 105; Hebreos 11:8-19; Lucas 2:22-40



Las dificultades que enfrentaron José y María al resucitar a Jesús se hacen evidentes en las lecturas de hoy. El día de Navidad escuchamos la hermosa historia de la Encarnación, en la que Dios elige estar con nosotros. Al día siguiente, las Escrituras nos hablan de Steven, el primer mártir de la fe, para resaltar que el discipulado es arriesgado y exige que tomemos una decisión. La serenidad de la Navidad no dura mucho. Tres días después del día de Navidad, leemos que Herodes masacra a los niños inocentes de Belén porque los veía como una amenaza a su trono. La inocencia de la Navidad no dura mucho.


En el evangelio de hoy escuchamos que José y María llevan a Jesús al templo para presentarlo al cuidado de Dios. Es similar a lo que hacemos en el bautismo de nuestros niños pequeños. Buscamos la protección y guía de Dios. Queremos saber que Dios está cerca . Los padres de Jesús cumplen con su deber devocional y mantienen a Jesús en correctas relaciones con Dios. La primera lectura de Eclesiástico fomenta relaciones apropiadas y correctas entre la familia y los vecinos, reconociendo que Dios se trata de mantener relaciones apropiadas. Las lecturas de Colosenses que habló San Pablo describen cómo debe actuar un discípulo de Dios: con compasión, bondad, humildad, gentileza y paciencia. El discipulado se trata de mantener y lograr relaciones correctas dentro de nuestras familias y con nuestros vecinos.


¿Cómo responder entonces a las imágenes que hemos visto en las noticias acerca de que los cristianos de Belén no pudieron celebrar la Encarnación este año? Los cristianos colocaron figuras de la Sagrada Familia entre los escombros que quedaron del terreno. Sin alegría ni esperanza, ¿cómo se celebra la Navidad? Un nombre que le damos a Jesús es Príncipe de Paz, pero parece que nuestro mundo a veces está lejos de serlo. Parece que cada Navidad que llega necesitamos tener nuestro propio momento de Cuento de Navidad, nuestro propio momento Scrooge o Grinch, donde nuestro corazón se expande en amor, lo que implica compasión y misericordia para aquellos que sufren. La oración es ineficaz si simplemente ofrecemos nuestros pensamientos y buenos deseos; La oración es eficaz si actuamos en consecuencia ahora.


Eso no quiere decir que vayamos a resolver las guerras y los conflictos del mundo con nuestras acciones de oración. No somos. Sin embargo, podemos llevar paz y buena voluntad a aquellos lugares de nuestro mundo donde el amor alguna vez existió y ya no existe. La Navidad es un momento de reconciliación entre Dios y la humanidad; debemos promover ese trabajo reconciliándonos con quienes se encuentran en los rincones más inmediatos de nuestra vida. Cada uno de nosotros tenemos relaciones que están rotas y necesitan reparación. Nuestra oración es para darnos la fortaleza, el coraje y la perspicacia para intentarlo de nuevo, para volvernos vulnerables con la esperanza de cerrar la brecha que existe entre nuestros seres queridos. Debemos lograr la paz en nuestros corazones, la paz en nuestras relaciones, si queremos lograr una paz mayor en el escenario mundial. Nuestros intentos de hacerlo podrían hacernos experimentar lo que María hizo cuando sintió esa espada atravesar su corazón, un corazón roto por un amor magnánimo, sabiendo que su hijo estaba destinado al ascenso y la caída de muchos, pero María persistió, y así debe ser. nosotros si vamos a poner fe en Dios. María y José nos enseñan cómo formar relaciones correctas como un acto de confianza en Dios.


Sólo el amor detiene en seco el progreso del odio y la violencia. Es el amor el que reconcilia, expía y nos une con vínculos más estrechos. Es el amor el que aumenta la compasión y la misericordia y cambia los corazones endurecidos. Nuestras vidas están entrelazadas con la de Dios, y la vida de Dios está entrelazada con la nuestra. Nuestra oración debe ser seguida por nuestra acción: estamos llamados a poner en acción el amor de Dios. Hoy. Ahora. La Navidad es la celebración en la que prevalecerá la esperanza.


Escritura para la misa diaria


Lunes: (1 Juan 3) Nosotros somos de Dios, y el que conoce a Dios nos escucha, mientras que el que no es de Dios se niega a escucharnos. Así conocemos el espíritu de verdad y el espíritu de engaño.



Martes: (1 Juan 4) Amados, amémonos unos a otros, porque el amor es de Dios; todo el que ama es engendrado por Dios y conoce a Dios. Quien no tiene amor no conoce a Dios, porque Dios es amor. De esta manera se nos reveló el amor de Dios.


Miércoles: (1 Juan 4) Amados, si Dios así nos amó, también nosotros debemos amarnos unos a otros. Nadie ha visto jamás a Dios. 
Sin embargo, si nos amamos unos a otros, Dios permanece en nosotros y su amor se perfecciona en nosotros.


Jueves: (1 Juan 4) Si alguno dice: “Amo a Dios”, pero aborrece a su hermano, es mentiroso; porque quien no ama a un hermano a quien ha visto, no puede amar a Dios a quien no ha visto.


Viernes (1 Juan 5) ¿Quién es el vencedor de este mundo? El que cree en Jesús, que vino por agua y Sangre, y el Espíritu le da testimonio.


Sábado (1 Juan 5) Tenemos confianza que si pedimos algo conforme a su voluntad, Dios nos escucha.



Lunes: (Mateo 4) Recorrió toda Galilea, 
enseñando en sus sinagogas, proclamando el Evangelio del Reino, y curando toda enfermedad y dolencia en el pueblo.


Martes: (Marcos 6) Cuando Jesús vio la gran multitud, su corazón se conmovió por ellos, porque eran como ovejas sin pastor; y comenzó a enseñarles muchas cosas. Ya era tarde y sus discípulos se acercaron a él y le dijeron: “Este es un lugar desierto y ya es muy tarde.


Miércoles (Marcos 6) Después que los cinco mil hubieron comido y quedaron satisfechos, Jesús hizo que sus discípulos subieran a la barca y lo precedieran hasta la otra orilla hacia Betsaida, mientras él despedía a la multitud. Y despidiéndose de ellos, se fue al monte a orar.


Jueves (Lucas 4) Jesús regresó a Galilea en el poder del Espíritu, y la noticia de él se difundió por toda la región. Enseñaba en sus sinagogas y era alabado por todos.


Viernes (Lucas 5) Aconteció que estaba un hombre lleno de lepra en uno de los pueblos donde estaba Jesús; y cuando vio a Jesús, se postró , le suplicó y le dijo: “Señor, si quieres, puedes limpiarme”.


Sábado (Juan 3) Jesús y sus discípulos fueron a la región de Judea, donde pasó algún tiempo con ellos bautizando. Juan también estaba bautizando en Enón, cerca de Salim, porque allí había mucha agua, y la gente venía a ser bautizada, porque Juan aún no había sido encarcelado.



Santos de la semana


31 de diciembre: Silvestre I, papa (m. 335), sirvió a la iglesia poco después de que Constantino emitiera su Edicto de Milán en 313 que reconocía públicamente el cristianismo como la religión oficial del imperio y le otorgaba libertad de culto. El emperador y otros benefactores construyeron grandes iglesias públicas. Silvestre estuvo vivo durante el Concilio de Nicea pero no asistió debido a su vejez.


2 de enero : Basilio el Grande y Gregorio Nanzianzen , obispos y doctores (siglo IV), son dos de los cuatro grandes doctores de la Iglesia oriental. Son conocidos por sus predicaciones, especialmente contra los herejes arrianos. Basilio comenzó como ermitaño antes de ser nombrado arzobispo de Cesarea. Influyó en Gregorio, quien finalmente se convirtió en arzobispo de Constantinopla. Sus enseñanzas influyeron tanto en la Iglesia romana como en la oriental.


3 de enero: El nombre de Jesús fue dado al niño como lo predijo el ángel. En el mundo mediterráneo, la denominación de persona significaba la totalidad de la persona. A los humanos se les dio el poder de nombrar durante los relatos de la creación del Génesis. Si uno honra el nombre de la persona, honra a la persona. El nombre Jesús significa "Yahvé salva".


4 de enero: Elizabeth Ann Seton, religiosa (1774-1821), nació en un hogar episcopal donde se casó y tuvo cinco hijos. Cuando murió su marido, se hizo católica y fundó una escuela para niñas en Baltimore. Luego fundó las Hermanas de la Caridad y comenzó la fundación del sistema escolar parroquial en los EE. UU. Es la primera nativa estadounidense en ser canonizada.


5 de enero: John Neumann, obispo (1811-1860), emigró de Bohemia a Nueva York y se unió a los Redentoristas en Pittsburgh antes de ser nombrado obispo de Filadelfia. Construyó muchas iglesias en la diócesis y puso gran énfasis en la educación como fundamento de la fe.


6 de enero: Nace André Bessette, religioso (1845-1937) , en Quebec, Canadá. Se unió a la Congregación de la Santa Cruz y enseñó durante 40 años en el College of Notre Dame. Cuidó a los enfermos y fue conocido como intercesor de milagros. Construyó el Oratorio de San José, un popular lugar de peregrinación en Canadá.


Esta semana en la historia jesuita


  • 31 de diciembre de 1640. Muere John Francis Regis. Fue misionero en los pueblos y aldeas de las remotas montañas del sur de Francia.
  • 1 de enero de 1598: P. Falleció Alfonso Barréna , apellidado Apóstol del Perú. Fue el primero en llevar la fe a los guaraníes y chiquitos del Paraguay.
  • 2 de enero de 1619: En Roma, John Berchmans y Bartholomew Penneman , su compañero escolástico de Bélgica, ingresaron en el Colegio Romano.
  • 3 de enero de 1816: el P. El general Brzozowski y 25 miembros de la Sociedad, custodiados por soldados, abandonaron San Petersburgo, Rusia, habiendo sido desterrados por el gobierno civil.
  • 4 de enero de 1619: La misión inglesa es elevada a la categoría de provincia.
  • 5 de enero de 1548: Nace en Granada Francisco Suárez, uno de los más grandes teólogos de la iglesia.
  • 6 de enero de 1829: Publicación del rescripto del Papa León XII, declarando que la Sociedad está canónicamente restaurada en Inglaterra.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Photo: Kennebunkport Tree


Poem: Let the Star of Morning Rise, by Ted Loder

Lord God, 

in the deepest night 

there rises the star of morning, 

of birth, 

the herald of a new day you are making, 

a day of great joy dawning 

in yet faint shafts 

of light and love.

I hear whispers of peace in the stillness, 

fresh breezes of promise 


winter sparrows 

chirping of life, 

a baby’s cry 

of need 

and hope - 


In the darkness I see the light 

and find in it comfort, 


cause for celebration, 

for the darkness cannot overcome it; 

and I rejoice to nourish it 

in myself, 

in other people, 

in the world 

for the sake of him 

in whom it was born 

and shines forever, 

even Jesus the Christ.  

Monday, December 25, 2023

Photo: Merry Christmas


Poem: “What Do I Want For Christmas?” by Ann Weems

What do I want for Christmas?
I want to kneel in Bethlehem,
the air thick with alleluias,
the angels singing
that God is born among us.

With much delight
I want to see them come,
the wise ones and the humble.
I want to see them come
bearing whatever they treasure
to lay at the feet
of him who gives his life.

What do I want for Christmas?
To see in that stable
the whole world kneeling in thanks
for a promise kept: new life.
For in his nativity
we find ours.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Photo: Tokens of Love


Prayer: Joseph Tetlow, S.J.

When you come, you welcome them and call them to labor and rejoice with you. You are the most beautiful among all people, and I can hardly believe you want me for your friend. You are powerful, Lord. Draw me more and more into your friendship and lead me along the way you took your friends.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Prayer: Catherine de Hueck Doherty

The hunger for God can only be satisfied by a love that is face to face, person to person. It is only in the eyes of another that we can find the Icon of Christ.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Prayer: From the Center for Action and Contemplation

Troubler of Israel, Turner of Hearts, Last but also First – John the Baptizer! Make straight a new path, through a new wilderness, and bring a new people, to the “Great and Dear God,” who awaits and invites us to a message that is always bigger than we are. Like you, may we grow smaller.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Photo: The Family of Joseph and Mary


Prayer: John Paul II

The tragedy of hunger which plagues hundreds of millions, the diseases which afflict developing countries, the loneliness of the elderly, the hardships faced by the unemployed, the struggles of immigrants… These are evils that are present – albeit to a different degree – even in areas of immense wealth. We cannot delude ourselves: by our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need, we will be recognized as true followers of Christ.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The Incarnation: The Nativity of the Lord, 2023

                                                             The Incarnation:

The Nativity of the Lord, 2023 

December 25, 2023

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Isiah 9:1-6; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14



Merry Christmas, friends. Everything is set for Christmas. Our trees are set up and decorated, gifts are wrapped, and meals are planned. It is a wonderful time of family gatherings, renewed friendships, and sharing of gratitude, and we pause to come to Church to hear the first Nativity story. We are moved each year to hear about the angels and shepherds and the message of glory that the heavens sing. We marvel at the child who has been born to us. We know there is an enduring message that gets renewed each time we experience this moment.


Christmas is about believers gathering around the birth of Jesus, who is the mystery of God's self-gift. It is a story of God's complete self gift to us without any strings attached that comes about in the birth of an infant. In this boy, the gift of God, the gift of divinity is hidden in our humanity. God chooses to become one of us so that we know that God knows about our loves, concerns, and suffering in our daily life. God could have come in grand ways or in a more influential family, but God becomes vulnerable, devoid of power or authority, to become a tiny, poor, helpless infant dependent upon human kindness for existence. God needs us to survive.


The significance of Christmas is the gift of life freely given and graciously received, which is the reason we exchange gifts with loved ones. Most of us would be satisfied to not exchange gifts because we simply want to give one another our time and presence. Children want to return home; parents want to be with their children again; loved ones simply want to spend time in meaningful ways. We want to be together, even those among us who quarrel or are estranged. Hope is born, and we hope that with each passing year we will be able to receive and give our love as it is meant. We keep trying and hoping. 


We return home or visit loved ones because we know love exists at the heart of each relationship, even if we express it poorly or are limited in our ability to show it. We want to be loved, and we want to love more freely, without constraints.  We want to be needed, recognized, honored, and valued. We know goodness exists in the other person, and our heart breaks when we cannot share love the way we intend and sometimes we get painfully hurt, but we do try, and we hope that one day all will be reconciled. We don’t just want peace to be the absence of conflict; we want to a peace that heals and brings joy back to the relationship. We want to be redeemed and restored to wholeness with the other person. We see God in the other and recognize that God is the gift. God does not give gifts. The gift of God is hidden in the concrete reality of existence, within the everyday world, in the meals we share, in the hugs we give, in the hopes that we hold deeply for one another in our consciousness. We really do want the best for the other person. We pray for peace on earth and goodwill towards all. 


We may feel some obligation to exchange some gifts, but at the root of it, a gift is something freely given and is a personal expression of love. The exchange, the goodwill, binds us together. We belong to one another, and it creates a shared life. It is a token expression of what happens in Bethlehem where a sacred exchange occurs between God and humanity. We replicate that moment when we exchange gestures of goodwill, and it creates the promise of a new future together. That’s what we celebrate at the Incarnation, sharing the gift of life with the hope that we are creating new possibilities for our relationships and for the world. 


Christmas awakens our consciousness that we live in hope. We want hope not just to be silently inside of us, but to be a living expression of our faith acted out in goodwill gestures and well-phrased words. We need each other to keep hope alive. We need to put love in those places where love is not, where it does not exist or once existed. This is the hope of Christmas. My prayer for you is that we ask God for the courage to create love in those places that make the angels spontaneously burst forth in song, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to all people of goodwill.”


Scripture for Daily Mass


Monday: (Acts 6) Stephen worked great wonders among the people and adversaries debated with him fiercely. They threw hit out of the city, stoned him, and laid him at Saul’s feet.  


Tuesday: (1 John) What we heard, and saw with our eyes, what we looked upon, and touched with our hands, concerns the Word of life.


Wednesday: (1 John) God is light and in him there is no darkness. We have fellowship with him. Walk in the light as he is in the light.  


Thursday: (1 John) We are friends with God if we keep his commandments. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.   


Friday (Sirach 3) God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Take care of your father when he is old.   


Saturday (1 John 2) It is the last hour and the anti-Christ is coming. You have the anointing of the Holy One, and you have all knowledge.



Monday: (Matthew 10) Jesus said, “Beware of men who will hand you over to their courts and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be led before governors and kings.  


Tuesday: (John 20) Magdalene ran to Simon Peter and the Beloved Disciples to tell the news that Jesus has been removed from the tomb. In fear, they ran to see the tomb.


Wednesday (Matthew 2) When the magi departed, an angel told Joseph to take his wife and child to Egypt because Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.  


Thursday (Luke 2) When the days were completed for the purification, Mary and Joseph brought the child to the Temple, where they met Simeon, a righteous and devoted man.


Friday (Matthew 2) When Herod died, an angel told Joseph to return to Israel. “Out of Egypt have I called my son.”


Saturday (John 1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came to be through him. A light shines in the darkness.  



Saints of the Week


December 24: ERO CRAS

In the Roman Catholic tradition, on December 23, the last of the seven “O Antiphons” is sung with the “Alleluia” verse before the Gospel reading at Mass and at Vespers – Evening Prayer in the Divine Office/Breviary. Most ordinary Catholics, however, are more accustomed to hearing these antiphons as verses in the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

But the literary construction of these wonderful antiphons is arranged in a unique and surprising way: The order of the seven Messianic titles of the “O Antiphons” (and the seven verses of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”) was fixed with a definite purpose. 

In Latin, the initial letters of the antiphons – Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia – form a reverse acrostic – a play on words – ERO CRAS, which translates into English as “Tomorrow, I will be.”

So, in the silence of Christmas Eve, we look back on the previous seven days, and we hear the voice of the One whose coming we have prepared for – Jesus Christ – speak to us: “I will be here tomorrow.”


December 26: Stephen, the first Martyr (d. 35), was one of the seven original deacons chose to minister to the Greek-speaking Christians. The Jews accused him of blasphemy. Though he was eloquent in his defense, Saul of Tarsus condoned his death sentence. 


December 27: John, Apostle and Evangelist (d. 100), was the brother of James and one of the three disciples to be in the inner circle. He left fishing to follow Jesus and was with him at the major events: the transfiguration, raising of Jairus' daughter, and the agony in the garden. He is also thought to be the author of the fourth gospel, three letters, and the Book of Revelation. 


December 28: The Holy Innocents (d. 2), were the boys of Bethlehem who were under two years old to be killed by King Herod in an attempt to eliminate the rise of the newborn king as foretold by the astronomers from the east. This event is similar to the rescue of Moses from the Nile by the slaughter of the infant boys by the pharaoh. 


December 29: Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr (1118-1170), was the lord chancellor and archbishop of Canterbury in England during the time of King Henry II. When he disagreed with the King over the autonomy of the church and state, he was exiled to France. When he returned, he clashed again with the king who had him murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.  


December 30: The Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, was a feast instituted in 1921. It was originally the 3rd Sunday after Christmas. The Holy Family is often seen in Renaissance paintings - and many of those are of the flight into Egypt. 


This Week in Jesuit History


  • December 24, 1587. Fr. Claude Matthe died at Ancona. He was a Frenchman of humble birth, highly esteemed by King Henry III and the Duke of Guise. He foretold that Fr. Acquaviva would be General and hold that office for a long period. 
  • December 25, 1545. Isabel Roser pronounced her vows as a Jesuit together with Lucrezia di Brandine and Francisca Cruyllas in the presence of Ignatius at the church of Sta. Maria della Strada in Rome. 
  • December 26, 1978. The assassination of Gerhard Pieper, a librarian, who was shot to death in Zimbabwe. 
  • December 27, 1618. Henry Morse entered the English College at Rome. 
  • December 28, 1802. Pope Pius VII allowed Father General Gruber to affiliate the English Jesuits to the Society of Jesus in Russia. 
  • December 29, 1886. Publication of the beatification decree of the English martyrs. 
  • December 30, 1564. Letter from Pope Pius IV to Daniel, Archbishop of Mayence, deploring the malicious and scurrilous pamphlets published against the Society throughout Germany and desiring him to use his influence against the evil.