Christmas Reflections

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 25th, 2021 – The Nativity of the Lord - Luke 2:1-14

 The Church offers some options for Christmas Mass readings. I have chosen for our consideration the gospel that most closely resembles the crib set that sits on the mantle of our fireplace. It’s the gospel by Luke that mentions the manger with the Christ child, Mary his mother and Joseph his father, with other parts in this divine drama played by angels overhead and shepherds on the ground. It’s an account that could amaze us and give us increased hope in our troubled times. If we pay full attention.

 

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Your Messy Family is Holy!

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 26th, 2021 – The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - Luke:41-52

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

In was during my lifetime that a special feast was created by the Catholic Church for recalling and celebrated the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It was to be a special day for thinking about family life, theirs and ours, as it participates in our lives with God and as part of the life of the church. I had dedicated my professional career of close to fifty years as a theologian, professor and writer on the life of the family. This seemed quite worthwhile given that most of us would list family life as a major part of our life history. We were born in a family, we live in family settings (which often change) and so many die in the presence of other family members. Just like Jesus did.

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A Joyful Meeting

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 19th, Fourth Sunday of Advent - Luke 1:39-45

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

It was one of the great meetings in human history. But it was not between kings or heads of state or leaders in any usual sense of that category. Rather it was between two pregnant women, members of the same extended family. Mary travelled from her home in Nazareth to Elizabeth who lived in the hill country to the south. Mary came to help her older relative in need, as happens in caring families. Especially among women.

Their encounter created a moment of joy, not just for the two women, but also for the child being carried by Elizabeth. As Luke described it, he leaped for joy. Why not? Was not Mary pregnant with the coming Messiah? God was becoming flesh in her womb.

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Love Aflame

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

December 12th, 2021 – Third Sunday of Advent - Luke 3:10-18

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

When I was a kid, I loved fires. Each fall our family would rake piles of leaves and set them afire along the front curb of our street. (This was before people even thought of air pollution.) There were also vacant lots scattered around our neighborhood, and as the grass and brush dried after summer, small fires were often started by mischievous boys as a way to cause some local excitement. I must admit to participating in these pranks. One of the stupid thing I did back then was start a fire in a pile of old cardboard boxes in our family’s basement. Fires fascinated me and they still do. We have a small gas fireplace in our home and hardly a day passes when I don’t sit before it, fascinated by the dancing flames.

 

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What Are You Waiting For?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home 

December 5th, 2021 – Second Sunday of Advent  - Luke 3:1-6

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Now that we are well into the Advent season, we can ask ourselves what exactly are we waiting for? The coming of whom or what? That’s the meaning of the word, Advent. A coming of something special. Many think of this as the coming of Christmas Day.  Perhaps, we look forward to seeing family and friends, the exchange of gifts, the sharing that often takes place around Christmas. But we can also focus on a deeper meaning of the feast, the coming of Christ into our world.

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What Time Is It?

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 28th, 2021 – First Sunday of Advent - Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Two weeks ago, the Sunday gospel described ‘the end of the world.” This was fitting because we were about to conclude the Church’s year. So, it might appear odd that on this Sunday, the first Sunday of the Church’s new year, we are again offered a description about the end of it all. We might ask, “What’s going on?”

I begin this reflection with a few lines from the brilliant British poet, William Blake.

To see the world in a grain of sand.
And heaven in a wildflower.
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand.
And eternity in an hour.

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Our Servant King

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 21st - 2021 – Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe - John 18:33b-37

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Today’s gospel is about leadership. Using the political arrangements in the time of Jesus, the teaching is about kingship. Although the number of kings these days may be decreasing, in days of old, they were quite common.

The “King of the Jews” is a reference to King David, someone many hoped would be the role played by the messiah – someone many Jews were expecting. When the feast of Christ the King was created by the Church, many kings were known to rule countries in Europe. So, the Church was saying that it had its king. But it was not the pope, but Jesus.

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A Glorious Future

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 14th, 2021 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 13:24-32

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Daylight is decreasing and we are beginning to think about the ending of this Year of the Lord, 2021. And what a year this has been! I will not go into details here because, besides global happenings, there are all the stresses and strains that each of us has undergone. Almost too many to count. On a personal note, my wife and I sold a larger home and acquired a smaller one. They call it “downsizing.” Our children no longer dwell with us but live on their own with their own challenges. My wife and I now see more of each other because we live in a smaller cave.

When today’s gospel was written, a popular format in religious circles were descriptions of what was called “the end time.” It had many similarities with today’s science fiction writing, films and video games. Lots of spectacular events season the story lines.

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Precious Gift

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

November 7th, 2021 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 12:38-44

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

We all live with a purpose. That purpose can change during our lives – sometimes almost daily. In today’s gospel we are introduced to two types of people. The first are those who are in “high places.” (They are called “scribes” meaning that they were on the payroll of the Temple.) They enjoy status and privilege and seemingly one primary purpose guides them: solidifying their own status and fulfilling their personal needs.

They live fully for themselves. They offer to God and God’s work only their surplus, their leftovers. God plays no major role in their lives. They may try to appear holy, but they are not. I would classify them as “show-offs.”

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Invitation to Love

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home

October 31st, 2021 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time - Mark 12:28-34

REFLECTION QUESTIONS:
Download this simple process to Prepare for Sunday using the Observe, Judge, Act Method.

Many of us ask questions like, “Who’s number one? What’s the best this or that? Or if we have too much interest in sports, who’s going to win the World Series or the Super Bowl or the Fed Ex Cup or my daughter or son’s little league baseball championship? Maybe we are pre-programed for creating hierarchies. If we are going to invest ourselves in something, we want to be on the side of what’s best. Or what’s most important.

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