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?
Matther 7:21, 24-27
I bet we all remember the story of The Three Little Pigs and the lessons learned for future homeownership. If you had thought about growing up and building your house with sticks or hay, you dodged a bullet there. Of course, what your house is built on may be just as important as what you use to build the walls. Build a house on a soft foundation and watch how long it takes show signs of settling. If and when something adverse happens to our houses hopefully we have insurance to help us start again. We might not make the best decisions in building or buying that first house, but oftentimes we get a second chance to move into that house that will really be the one for the rest of our lives.
For Sunday, December 10, 2017
Second Sunday of Advent
Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
2 Peter 3:8-14
Before I entered the monastery, I enjoyed hosting dinner parties at my house. I enjoyed planning the entire evening – from choosing the dinner and dessert menu, to selecting a good bottle of wine, to shopping, cooking and cleaning, and setting the table. I would prepare topics for conversation and even readied a board game if the mood felt right! By late afternoon, I had freshened up and the last minute food prep underway. As the appointed time drew nearer, I put the flowers in the vase, lit the pine-scented candles, and vacuumed the rug one last time! I would feel a nervous excitement. Then “ding dong” went the doorbell and the party was on!
The Advent season takes on this same anticipatory sense. (more…)
This Advent, we should be considering giving gifts to more than just our family and friends. I think we should give gifts to every single person we encounter for the next several weeks! There is no need to do the math, because if you were thinking in terms of gifts you buy, that would be a fortune. The gifts I am talking about do not have a monetary value. These gifts are inside of us. They come from our time, our mindfulness, our emotion, and our love. These gifts will cost us something even if they do not require cash. In some ways, these gifts will be even more difficult to give than ones that originate in a store.
Posted on December 5, 2017 by Jane Angha - Vibrant Parish Toolkit
A friend of mine who happens to be a Director of Religious Education at a parish in Northern Wisconsin held an Advent family night this past week. It was the first ever at the parish and was a big hit. I got to see what was happening all night long because of a fantastic teen reporter who covered the event. The video was wobbly, spontaneous, and fun, but it cut off most of the adults from the neck up, so I suspect the reporter was not very tall, but very articulate. His commentary was delightful. He talked about each activity and how it related to Advent and would ad-lib with his own comments about how great things looked or how busy the hallways were or how much fun people were having.
This parish is in one of the poorest counties in Wisconsin. (more…)
Today’s reading from Isaiah 11 is so beautiful with its imagery of how from the lineage of Jesse one will come who will reshape our world and create peace in the face of chaos. The wolf will be guest of the lamb, the cow and the bear will be friends, and babies will lie without harm in the cobra’s den. These beautiful images have been used in poetry, song, and paintings for multiple generations. However, will you let your baby keep playing the next time you see a cobra near him or her? The images speak to the fact of our world being changed by the coming of Jesus Christ, but they are not literal.
Faith often requires us to acknowledge the true power of God and admit that we are not the center of the universe. When we are not mindful of these realities, we easily succumb to the temptation to focus on our will and not the will of God. Many wonderful things can come to pass in our lives if only we can allow God in to heal, love, and lead us. Truly, none of us are worthy of the many gifts offered to us by God, especially the gift of the Incarnation, Jesus Christ. However, if we allow God to be God and let go of our pride and selfishness, we can find ourselves transformed.
Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7
1 Corinthians 1:3-9
“What could happen next?” How many times have you asked yourself that question? Unfortunately, we most often use that expression when things don’t seem to be going our way. Then when the stars seem to align just right we might use the same expression to explain our feelings of being overwhelmed by blessings and good things.
Posted on November 29, 2017 by Liturgical Publications - LPi News
With the late November emphasis on shopping, supporting small businesses, and hot online deals, we know it can be easy to lose sight of what really matters. #GivingTuesday is an international day of generosity. Individuals and organizations donate to worthy causes around the world. LPi is grateful to have partnered with three Catholic organizations building vibrant communities, matching donations dollar for dollar this Giving Tuesday.
Our Giving Tuesday results are in! Together we raised $11,960! Because of your generosity, Catholic Climate Covenant will have more resources to inspire and equip people and institutions to care for creation and care for the poor. Haiti180 will have support to build infrastructure changing lives in Haiti. Life Teen International has increased ability to reach today’s teens, restore parishes, transform lives, and reclaim culture.
Together we can build vibrant parishes, a vibrant Church, and help one another change the world.