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Fr. Ron's Blog

Dear Friends,
As I have been saying in some of my homilies over this Christmas Season, when Advent is the longest it can be, the full four weeks, as it was this year, then the Christmas Season (liturgically speaking), is the shortest it can be, as it will be this year. So, for instance, we didn’t have Holy Family Sunday because there were no Sundays between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This also means that the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, normally celebrated the Sunday after the Epiphany, will be celebrated tomorrow, Monday, January 9th, and the Christmas Season will come to an end tomorrow. This also means that if you fancy yourself as having a green thumb, you are invited to take home a poinsettia plant from anywhere in the church, after Mass today.

Dear Friends,
The flip of a calendar doesn’t necessarily mark anything special, but it does afford the opportunity to stop and “take stock” of what’s going on. That change of calendars is happening today, and so it is a good time to take that stock.

Firstly, to recognize blessings and say thanks. The first reading of today’ Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, New Year’s Day, begins “Say to them (the Israelites): ‘The Lord bless you and keep you.” We here at OLMC are so blessed in so many ways. One of those blessings is the people who are so good to us, sharing their time and talents.

In this time of national anxiety and division, I repeat a Christmas column I wrote several years ago. At one time, the Advent Little Blue Book did a reflection on the word “merry.” I quote. “Merry did not originally convey a sense of jolly, mirthful. It meant something more along the lines of ‘blessed, peaceful’ – a deep inner joy rather than revelry. One gets a sense of its original meaning in the well-known carol, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. As can be seen from the comma, the word is not used to describe jolly gentlemen, but rather a blessing from God invoked upon them.”
I wrote a homily several years ago, based on that hymn. Believing the message is even more important now, I offer it again.

Dear Friends
Varia – a number of unrelated thoughts:
This year, Advent is as long as it can possibly be, a full four weeks. Next year, 2017, it will be as short as it can be, the 4th Sunday of Advent actually falling on Christmas Eve. Does that mean you get an extra week of shopping this year – not really.

You may have seen the boom (or oversized fork-lift) somewhere around the rectory lately. That’s because they have begun the installation of the new rectory, energy-efficient windows. This project is funded through the parish portion of the We Are Living Stones Campaign. Once again, a big thank-you to the 545 households who pledged to the campaign. Please remember to continue to meet those pledges so we can move on to the next projects on the list.

Dear Friends
Because it’s only Dec. 11th, it’s hard to believe that this is already the 3rd Sunday of Advent. I think it’s because this year, 2016, Advent is the longest it can possibly be, a full four weeks. (Next year, it will be the shortest).

Because Advent is a special time when our hearts are often touched by the gift of believing that God loves us so much He came to share life with us, and the reality of that fills us more with hope than at any other time of the year, it is also the time to “put things right” with that God, a time to acknowledge our sins and seek forgiveness and reconciliation. For those who have been away a long time, I guarantee it will make a big difference in your celebration of Christmas. In that light, I repeat a column I wrote several years ago.

Dear Friends
A couple of weeks ago I ran across an article that claimed that almost 25% of Americans now identify themselves as atheists. The last time I saw a figure on the issue it was about 15%. The article also told the reader that fewer people are embarrassed about identifying themselves in this way.

You and I know that we live in an ever-changing world, not only technologically but culturally as well. Mores, morals, societal supports have all changed and, in some cases, disappeared. So, what, if anything, can we do about it? Our Scripture readings today give us the insight and direction we need to answer that question.

Dear Friends
These last weeks have seen some remarkable moments, things which most of us would have never thought possible. And these events have left us wondering about our future and the future of the country and of the world. Each day the papers and the media are filled with story after story about the condition of the world. Countries mount endless wars. Civilians and especially children die in a relentless effort to gain control of territory, one block, no, one house at a time. Men, women and children die every day in fleeing the violence of their homeland in boats that we wouldn’t put on a local lake. Famine and disease are everywhere. Floods, earthquakes, draught, and fires kill and devastate homes and businesses and lives.

Dear friends,
Read the words of the original Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863. I think it valuable at this moment in our history because it does not give thanks for victories won, but for the blessings of the land and for freedom. It does not conclude with a prayer for more victories or for defeat of the enemy. But it concludes with a prayer for humble penitence for those who suffer and for a prayer for healing, and for peace, harmony and tranquility. How appropriate to the country 153 years later. As we have seen over these last many months, and continue to see over these last days, we are in need of divine intervention, not only to heal wounds, but to enlighten a path by which reasonable people of good will can find solutions, not only to the problems our nations faces, but to the problem which is ourselves.

Dear Friends,
Varia – a number of unrelated items:
- I am sure most, if not all of you, have read about the appointment of a new Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal-designate Joseph W. Tobin. It is extraordinary in many ways, that it came so soon after Archbishop Myers turned 75 (less than four months), that Newark will now have a Cardinal as Ordinary of the Archdiocese, and that it involved the transfer of a Cardinal from one diocese to another (never done). With all of these circumstances, it does show Pope Francis’ concern for the Church of Newark. I had the opportunity on Monday to have lunch with Cardinal-designate Tobin (along with other Archdiocesan officials). He was warm, down-to-earth, well spoken, with a wealth of experience and a hearty sense of humor. I believe he brings to Newark a new life and energy that will soon be evident, and a deep faith in the power and grace of the Lord in all our lives, lived in the image of leadership exemplified in the life of Pope Francis.

Dear Friends,
I doubt there is a person in the United States who does not know that Tuesday of this week is Election Day. I have often urged parishioners to be sure to vote. It’s harder to do that this year. Officially, the Church cannot either endorse or oppose any particular candidate, and that applies to federal, state and even local elections. Neither can a parish “distribute educational materials biased with respect to any candidate, political party or PAC; conduct public forums, debates or lectures (homilies?) biased with respect to any candidate, political party or PAC.”

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Mass Schedule

Weekend Liturgies
Saturday, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday
8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m.,
11:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.,
3 p.m. (Spanish), 6:30 p.m.
Weekday Liturgies
Monday thru Friday,
6:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m.,
and 12 noon
Saturday, 8:30 a.m. only
Holy Days
Eve: 7:30pm (anticipated)
6:30am, 8:30am, and 12noon 

 

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