Cultivate a Sense of Gratitude

   Family feet by the fire                         

Keep the year holy at home. Spirituality is a journey taken one step at a time.  You never know--some of these ideas may become habits you’ll carry into the next year, and many more to come.  As the year begins, CFM offers some suggestions for growing in holiness throughout the year.

  • Cultivate a sense of gratitude. Greet each child with a smile in the morning, thanking God aloud for the gift that a child is. Summer offers innumerable examples of the glory and abundance of God’s creative genius.  Recognize the wonder of a sprouting seed and the beauty of full bloom. Model for your children an appreciation of God’s gifts.
  • Rededicate yourselves to mealtime prayer. Whether it’s a picnic at the park or hotdogs on the run, begin with bowed heads and thanksgiving. Light a candle. Your prayer can be a simple ritual like holding hands, saying “Thank you, God” together and blowing out the candle can be a graced moment for your family.
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Take Courage

Reflections of the Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent -- Luke 1: 26-38 Depositphotos_9219833_m-2015.jpg

God is a god of surprises! Our Gospel this Sunday reminds us that God works in mysterious ways and chooses unlikely people to do his will. A young girl receives a startling visit from an angel. Gabriel salutes her with a title of honor, Full of Grace, and declares that God has chosen her to be the mother of a son. If that news was not astonishing enough, considering her virginity, this is to be the Son of the Most High God. He will rule over the people in an eternal kingdom. Like every child in Israel, Mary would have about this promise of a messiah that would save God’s people. The angel repeats the promises first made King David, that his house and kingdom will endure forever. God’s people clung to this promise over many centuries, through dark days. They expected a powerful warrior that would put their enemies to flight and restore political glory.

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Who Are You To Say?

Reflections on the Gospel for the Third Sunday of Advent -- John 1:68-19-28 family sunset field

When he appeared in the desert, drawing enthusiastic crowds and preaching about repentance and forgiveness, John the Baptist’s questioners demanded to know the source of his authority: “What do you have to say for yourself?” If we profess to be Christians, people who know us may rightly ask us the same questions. “Where do you get off claiming that God loves you and faithfully cares for you and your family?”

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Here's Jesus

Reflections on the Gospel Reading for the Second Sunday of Advent -- Mark believe word art1: 1-8

Like John the Baptist, each Christian has been appointed to be a herald of the Lord. John testifies that he has been sent to prepare the way of the Lord by crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight his paths!” His appearance was strange, but he attracted quite an audience with his message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. We can feel confident to take up the evangelizing mission of John if we remember an important fact: “One mightier than I is coming after me.” We are messengers and workers, not the Messiah.

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Heads Up!

Reflections on the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent -- Mark 13: 33-37 Christmas star

Advent blesses us with the reminder that we must be always watching out for God’s saving activity in the world. With all the negative events we see or experience every day, we need to stay on our toes if we are to stay hopeful. Jesus told his disciples “You do not know when the time will come,” when God will do a great work in the world—and a great work in each of us. Jesus helps us understand what he means by telling the parable of the servants left in charge during their master’s absence.

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Here Come the Judge

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Jesus Prepares to Wash Feet
November 26th, 2017 – Jesus Christ, King of the Universe 
Matthew 25:31-46

One of our sons recently told me that he was interested in becoming a football referee. He was disgusted with what he called “terrible officiating” that he witnessed as a fan. As he saw it, the players and the fans deserved better. Accurate judgment on the part of umpires and referees is an important part of the world of sports. Nothing angers a fan more than “a bad call.”

In today’s gospel we are given the rules that will be applied to what we might call “the final game!” It’s also called “the Last Judgment.” It’s worth our close attention because we will be among those judged.

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Serve Everyone in Humility

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Soup kitchen
November 19th, 2017 – 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25:14-30

“Use it or lose it!” I am not sure where this saying originated but it could have been drawn from today’s gospel. It’s one that is familiar to most of us. Mention “the parable of the talents” and many will recall it. It is especially popular with accountants and financial managers. It touches on the world of investments and taking risks. It may even appeal to gamblers, now that I think of it.

It’s a story of success and failure. To those who used the talents given to them by God, especially “for others,” their goodness (and reward) doubled. To those who buried their talent and failed to use it for others, they lost it all. 

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Be Prepared

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Hikers
November 12th, 2017 – 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 25:1-13

The Boy Scouts of America were recently in the news because they are soon to allow girls into their organization. But that’s not what we are going to discuss here. Rather, we are going to discuss what may be the most remembered motto of the boy scouts. “Be prepared.” That’s at the heart of the parable Jesus taught about the Wise Virgins.

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Treat Everyone As Christ

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Group with trees
November 5th, 2017 – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Matthew 23:1-12

At times Jesus uses what scholars call “reversal language.” Today’s gospel is a good example of this. If you want to be first, then, take the last place. If you want to be a true leader, then serve everyone. This certainly sounds like a reversal of what most would think about the correct order of things.

In today’s competitive society, most seem to want to be first, to be given top-billing, recognition, privileges, a first-class seat. Most people would say that they would rather lead than follow.

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The Most Demanding Commandment

The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home Couples talking
By Dr. David M. Thomas for CFM

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Matthew 22:34-40

Today we hear one of the shortest gospels of the year. But don’t be fooled by its brevity. Its message is very large. And extremely important.

It seems that Jesus attracted people with questions. Or more precisely, with disputed questions. Maybe they were hoping for an argument. People do that sort of thing, even today. Their question had to do with right and wrong, with commands and laws. 

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