An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family
I have heard people say, “You don’t get to choose your family!” I believe that to be only partially true. I did not choose my father and mother, but my family is greater than my family tree of ancestors. My family includes those who have been there when both my father and mother passed away. My family includes those who came to see my newborn children in the hospital. My family includes those who celebrated with me my greatest triumphs and consoled me in my greatest times of trial. Each and every one of them I have chosen to be a part of my family.
Most of the time we talk about stewardship in terms of time, talent, and treasure. (more…)
Posted on December 28, 2017 by LPi - Vibrant Parish Toolkit
Greeters at the door and public welcome from the pulpit will go a long way to making sure people feel welcome when they return to your parish. But what about when they walk out the parish doors? Most visitors will walk out with something in hand – your bulletin. You want them to open it, discover a new event, and get connected. In a media-driven world, including attractive visual elements in your bulletin can make a world of difference. Make a New Year’s resolution to add one new piece of art per week. We’re offering four tips to make your bulletin more eye-catching, more inspirational, and more organized. (more…)
For Sunday, December 31, 2017
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 OR Genesis 15:1-6, 21:1-3
Colossians 3:12-21 OR Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Does the “typical” family really exist? Families come in so many shapes and sizes and there is nothing “typical” about them. Our family of origin, our family of association, the family of our church, the family of humanity and the family of creation are all different types of families. Even our work and school associations are often referred to as “families.” They vary in expression and style as much as human beings vary one to the other. As much as we are different, our families are different. All require tolerance, patience and freedom of expression. We are more connected to each other and to all of creation than we think. We are hard-wired to be connected with God, one another and our world. We cannot be our best selves in isolation.
The Holy Family was not typical either. (more…)
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
Advent comes along every year and will continue to do so until Jesus returns. As this season draws to a close, we can each ask ourselves, “Am I now any better a disciple of Jesus Christ and more of a steward of all my gifts than before the Advent season started?” I have been on this earth for 40+ years. I have had 40+ Advents to draw closer to God and to work on taking more seriously my baptismal call. Some have gone better than others, but I would like to think my spiritual life progressed at least a small amount during each of them.
There is not much time left! Are you ready for Christmas? Do you have any last minute things to do before Monday? In the next few days, God will continue to call us in subtle and profound ways. We live within the parameters of a calendar, a season, and time. God does not. It is easy to miss the call of God at this time of year, which is really sort of crazy since this time of year is all about God.
1 Samuel 1:24-28
I love to be around happy people. I bet you do too. Those who seemingly overflow with joy in the Lord make life seem easier and cause us to forget some of our lesser burdens.
That being said, I know too many unhappy people in this world. There are some who have lived very difficult lives, but others that just seem to not want to be happy. Some of these people may be actually depressed and in need of help, but others just seem to refuse to see the good in life.
Song of Songs 2:8-14
This time of year is filled with parties, dinners, and family gatherings for many of us. We spend so much time decorating, shopping, and cooking so can be wellsprings of hospitality and graciousness. However, some people in our midst experience none of these realities.
Some have no one to visit or know no one that will visit him or her. There are no parties to attend, no family to call on, and no money for shopping. They may or may not have a home. During these days leading up to Christmas, they are truly alone.
For Sunday, December 24, 2017
Fourth Sunday of Advent
2 Samuel 7:1-15, 8B-12, 14A, 16
The Gospels do not relate a single word spoken by Joseph, the husband of Mary. He is a silent, loving figure standing in the shadows during Advent, coming into view only in the final days of this season of watching and waiting. And, while we do hear from Mary in the gospels of Luke and John, few of her words have come down to us.
Despite the fact that we hear so little from the parents of Jesus, we can nevertheless recognize one particular virtue that both shared: obedience.
In today’s Gospel, Mary responds to the angel Gabriel, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Her words are echoed in the US Bishops’ pastoral letter – Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response – where the first primary conviction of the letter is that we are all called to a mature discipleship where we respond to the call of God regardless of the cost. We can hear what Mary said, and read what is written in the pastoral letter, but that does not make us magically mature.
Judges 13:2-7, 24-25A
Miracle on 34st Street, whether it is the original movie or one of the remakes, seems to be playing on television and on streaming services all over the place at this time of year. The question it addresses is one about the existence of Santa Claus. Looking at the title alone, one could ask a simple question without even seeing the movie: Do miracles really happen?