When you are a parent of teenagers, you pray that they will have integrity in all aspects of their lives: school, friends, work, and family. It is easy to say you are something or believe in something and then turn around and act in a manner contrary to that testimony. I remember one of my sons asking me about a covenant he was going to sign for something school-related. He asked, “How seriously do you think they take this?” I responded, “What matters is, how serious will you take it?”
This is a guest post from Fr. Nathan March, pastor of Parish of the Holy Savior in Mexico, ME.
I’ve always been sort of a paradox. Before becoming a priest, I studied Electrical Engineering and worked for about 5 years designing computer chips for companies like Texas Instruments and Motorola. As an engineer, when all my co-workers were rebuilding the pre-amp stage of their home stereo system, I was on a silent retreat in a monastery. In seminary studying to be a priest, while my classmates were visiting the monasteries I was installing Linux on my PC and writing a program to translate my Latin homework. In my life, technology and religion have always been integrated.
People everywhere are getting caught up in the trappings of the season. You may have up your Christmas tree, a wreath on the door, and some stockings hung by a fireplace. If you haven’t gotten to all that yet, perhaps you have an Advent wreath on your table or you are halfway through the chocolate in your Advent calendar. All of this exists, or at least should exist, to give witness to the reality of Jesus being born over 2,000 years ago. We can discuss how secular the season has become, but there is no argument that, without Jesus, there is no season as we know it.
For Sunday, December 17, 2017
Third Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 60:1-2A, 10-11
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
No other season of the year has inspired as much music as the Christmas season has. From Thanksgiving Day on, travelers and shoppers are serenaded with carols both new and old in shopping centers, airports and restaurants. Many radio stations dedicate 24 hours of programming to Christmas music.
This loop of Christmas music includes not only classic holiday favorites such as Bing Crosby’s I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas or Burl Ives’ Have a Holly Jolly Christmas, but to more contemporary songs such as Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You and Wham’s Last Christmas. And younger musicians continue to release new holiday albums in hopes of scoring the next Christmas classic.
We are about halfway through Advent and it is a good time to pause to reflect on how it is going. Let’s use the 6 characteristics of Everyday Stewardship as lenses to help us see how it is going. Let’s take a look on the feast of St. Lucy. (If you don’t understand the allusions to sight in the previous sentences, time to Google St. Lucy!)
Zechariah 2:14-17 or Revelation 11:19A; 12:1-6A, 10AB
In 1531, Our Lady appeared to a simple Aztec Indian who had converted to the Catholic faith, Juan Diego. Three days later, at Juan Diego’s request, Mary provided a sign in the form of roses and an image on his cloak so that all would believe that what he claimed to have seen was true. Today, Christians revere Our Lady of Guadalupe all throughout the world.
Living a stewardship way of life requires us to think more of others than ourselves. What we give to God never increases what God has or benefits him at all because God is perfect and without needs. However, when we give of ourselves to others in the name of Jesus, they certainly benefit and God is glorified.
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
2 Peter 3:8-14
Sometimes you have something to share with people that causes you to well up inside with excitement to the point of going crazy. A pregnancy test, a pay raise, a college acceptance, and a wedding engagement are all examples of moments in life when we might be bursting at the seams to tell somebody the good news. When we finally get the chance to tell somebody, joy just seems to flow through us with ease. We literally want the entire world to share in our jubilation.
When was the last time you shared with a friend or loved one how much your faith in Jesus means to you? Don’t you feel the same motivation to share? Are you not overwhelmed with a desire to spread the Good News?
Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26
Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8
In the average Catholic parish, 7% of the parishioners are doing just about everything. Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few.” Apparently, the data wasn’t much different 2000 years ago!
Some parish communities are more engaged and vibrant than others, but all of them are constantly looking for ways to get more people involved. During the month of December, more people will be worshipping in churches than just about any other time of the year. Christmas and the planned events surrounding that date just seem to be more appropriate opportunities to get involved. Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Genesis 3:9-15, 20
Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12
My wife and I have three children. Each time we realized we would be having a child, thoughts ran through our minds about what would this child be like. Who would they become when they grew older? What would they like and dislike in this world? Would they grow in faith or struggle with truth?