How can we grow old gracefully? Maybe Anna from the Bible gives us the answer. First, she never lost hope. Second, she never ceased to worship. Third she never ceased to pray.
I am blest to have served as a priest for 17 years in our Holy Cross ministries in Peru. I love Christmas in Peru. As night falls Christmas Eve there is a quiet that settles, a sense of waiting. Christmas Eve Mass is celebrated around 10 pm. The Churches are packed for beautiful celebrations as the feast begins and people return to their homes, yet there is still a sense of waiting – until midnight!
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I regret not having known my grandparents. Three had passed on before I was born and my mother’s mother died when I was 2 months old. My father was a quiet man and he didn’t talk much of his parents, but I knew they were what we called typical "Boston Irish Catholics" and good working class people. When my mother spoke of her mother, Alice, it was in praise of her holiness and faith.
God's justice, compassion, and healing power can do amazing things, big and small, if you let Him in, if you invite Him into your life. This week, I had two writing deadlines due the same day. The first was today’s homily, and the second was a family Christmas letter. As I prayed and reflected on the tasks at hand, I had an inspiration for how to approach a Christmas letter in these unusual times.
In his article "Toll of Unbelief" in the magazine First Things, Dr. Brendan W. Case noted that, "...on a single weekend in June 2021, seven people died of drug overdose in Rochester, New York. On that Saturday morning, three adults were found dead on a front porch on a quiet, residential street. Inside the house were six orphaned children." The CDC estimates that 2020 saw ninety-three thousand drug overdose deaths, a 30 percent increase from 2019.
Jesus, when can we expect the Kingdom of God to come? What is this Kingdom of God that You talked about? We don’t understand it. Can we see it? Maybe we just need to look around us. People still ask that question and Jesus is still telling us that it is among us. No one will announce its coming - because it is right before your eyes.