A priest who worked in Africa told me that he had once been invited to visit the family of one of his parishioners. He had been living in Africa as a missionary for more years than he liked to remember. He was returning to India, and the family had invited him for a farewell. When I asked what had touched him most during his missionary life there, he thought for a moment and answered, “They called me their ancestor.” They told him that he was to them as their father and mother.
“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.” Matthew 7: 24 We have just embarked on a wonderful time of the year. Let’s be sure to celebrate it to the full. That means living the first part: Advent! If we observe Advent first, then, when we come to Christmas, our joy will be deep and real.
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Anyone who has visited ancient cities such as Jerusalem, Babylon, Rome, Athens, Sparta, Memphis and Thebes, is shocked at how immense and beautiful these ancient cities must have looked in the prime of their days. I have been blessed to visit Rome, Jerusalem, and Memphis – which is not too far away from modern day Cairo. I was shocked looking at the gigantic archeological sites and how big the buildings must have been.
Constantine, the first Christian emperor, built a church on land that once belonged to the Laterani family. This church was the forerunner of the present-day Basilica, which dates back to the 4th century. Emperor Constantine was baptized in the Baptistery attached to the Basilica.
I really love the fall here in New England! We have a lot of clear and beautiful days to enjoy the fields and the orchards ripe for harvest. The forests and the hills become so colorful as the leaves turn. Nature and the changing of the seasons sing to us and teach us of the cycles of life and of coming to fruition.
Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist. He was a writer and physician who labored to portray for us in the Scriptures the gentleness and compassion of the Lord. He wrote several stories about Jesus healing the sick, or Jesus looking out for the poor and other kinds of people on the margins of society. Luke’s background as a physician certainly contributed to his special concern for the poor, the suffering, the outcasts, and women.