Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12/5/2015 – Friday of the 1st week Advent – Matthew 9:27-31

     Two blind men cry out to Jesus.  They ask him to have pity on them. They put their faith in Jesus, they truly believe that he can heal them.  Their healing comes to them because of that faith.
      Yes, our faith can certainly bring about miracles in our lives, but perhaps we do not see all of the miracles that are around us.  Sometimes, if we just open ourselves to new experiences in our lives, if we open up ourselves to new possibilities in which God can work in us, then we will be surprised as to how God can work his miracles in our lives. Isaiah tells us of a day in which the deaf will hear the words of a book, in which the eyes will be able to see past the gloom and darkness.  During our Advent time of preparation, we are called to plan for that day, the day when Jesus will come to us as a light in our world, a light shines through the darkness, a light that gives us the hope to endure our struggles and challenges. Just as the blind men had faith that brought about great changes in their lives, may our faith also bring many different possibilities into our own lives & into the lives of those who are searching for more. 

11/30/2015 - Reflection on Monday of the first week in Advent

I have an Advent calendar that I am using this year as part of my preparations during the holy season of Advent.  The Advent calendar is a tradition that many of us adults probably remember from our childhood.  Traditions are a big part of our lives, especially during the Advent and Christmas seasons.  The sacrament of reconciliation is a great tradition we Catholics have during the season of Advent as well. The Church calls us to this healing sacrament as part of our preparations for the coming of our Lord.  Yesterday, we had an Advent Reconciliation service for our Spanish speaking community here at St James Catholic Church in Tupelo.  We had a great response - probably over 150 attended.  We will have another service in English next Monday, December 7, at 6:00 pm.  I want to encourage all Catholics to partake of the Sacrament of Reconciliation during this holy season of Advent.  All of us, no matter who we are, need to look at our lives and our relationships, to look at the ways those relationships have been ruptured or broken, to reconcile with the Lord, with our neighbor, and with ourselves.  May the Lord help us to bring healing into our own lives and into the lives of others during this holy season.  

11/30/2015 – Memorial of St Andrew – Matthew 4:18-22, Romans 10:9-18

         Today, we celebrate the memorial of St Andrew, one of the 12 apostles.  This year, the feast of St Andrew happens to fall on Monday of the first week of the holy season of Advent, our time of preparation before Christmas.  Like many of the apostles, the Gospel does not go into many details about Andrew.  Today’s reading from Matthew tells us that Andrew was the brother of Simon Peter, that he was called to be a disciple out of the everyday reality of his life while he and his brother were fishing and casting their nets into the sea.  Jesus called Simon Peter and Andrew to follow him as his disciples.  They were amongst his first followers.  These two brothers immediately put down their nets and followed Jesus unconditionally.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of the apostles were dispersed throughout the world to bring Christ’s Gospel to others.  Tradition has it that Andrew brought the Gospel to the people of Turkey and Greece, where Andrew gave his life as a martyr as his continued Christ’s ministry and teachings.  As we think about all the problems that have afflicted Greece and Turkey in recent years, with Greece going through a debt crisis and struggling to hold together the very framework of its society, and Turkey being embroiled in the a conflict with Russia and all the problems going on in the Middle East, we call upon Andrew to lead and guide these countries as they confront these immense challenges, challenges that have profound affects on the rest of the world.
         In his letter to the Romans, Paul tells us how important it is for us to share our faith with others, to continue the work of Christ here on earth by preaching the Gospel.  Paul tells us that it does not matter if we are Jew or Greek.  No matter what our status in life, Christ Gospel is open to us.  
         As we start the holy season of Advent, as we hear of the witness of Andrew the Apostle, may we the responsibility each one of us has in living out  the Gospel message in the world.  As part of our Advent practices, may we find new and different ways that we can help Jesus and his apostles in their mission.  May we honor the work of Andrew and the other apostles by keeping that work alive. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

11/29/2015 – el primer domingo del adviento – ciclo C – Lucas 21: 21, 25-28. 34-36

      Según nuestro Señor en el Evangelio de hoy, el fin de los tiempos viene.  Entonces, necesitamos estar despiertos y vigilantes.  Necesitamos orar, porque no sabemos cuando llegará este momento, cuando llegará Jesucristo otra vez.  En la misa de hoy, empezamos las cuatro semanas de Adviento, un tiempo de preparación, un tiempo de espera.  En el Adviento, esperamos cuatro domingos antes del nacimiento de Jesús en nuestro mundo. 
      El Adviento es una vigilancia constante y responsable para nosotros, los creyentes de Jesucristo.  Como seres humanos, esperamos muchas cosas en nuestra vida.  Esperamos el momento cuando podemos empezar la escuela, cuando podemos salir de la casa de nuestros padres, cuando podemos trabajar, cuando  podemos manejar un carro, cuando podemos casarnos.  Pero, la espera que tememos en nuestra vida de fe como católicos es muy distinta – es diferente de las otras esperas.  Tenemos una espera en el presente, pero esta espera mueve al futuro cuando llega el nacimiento de Jesús, y cuando llegará Jesús otra vez en el futuro también.  Tenemos que esperar como nuestra vocación católica, como nuestra llamada de fe.  Muchos de nosotros queremos esperar según nuestra propia voluntad, según las expectativas que tenemos, según nuestros deseos y antojos y caprichos.  Pero, al contrario – como católicos, como seguidores de Cristo, necesitamos esperar en la semanas del adviento según el ritmo de Dios en nuestro mundo.   En el Adviento, necesitamos tener confianza en Dios.  Necesitamos tener confianza en nuestra fe.
       En esta espera que tenemos en Jesús en Adviento, tenemos un encuentro con El – un encuentro vivo.  Sabemos que el niño Jesús llega en nuestro mundo y en nuestra vida en el 25 de diciembre.  Pero, el Señor no nos dice cuando El viene otra vez.  No sabemos la fecha, no sabemos la hora.   Hay personas que dicen que ellos pueden calcular esta fecha concreta.  Pero, la palabra de Dios nos dice que nadie puede saber la fecha en este respecto.  Por esta razón, debemos mantenernos alertos constantemente.  Debemos estar vigilantes y despiertos para descubrir la invitación de conversión que Dios tiene para nosotros.  En el Adviento este año, Dios nos invita para caminar con El.  Para orar continuamente. Para estar alertos y atentos.  Para esperar con todos nuestros corazones. 
       Este año, por la primera vez, tenemos un servicio de reconciliación en español – mañana – el 30 de noviembre – a las 6:00 de la tarde.  Tenemos cuatro sacerdotes para escuchar sus confesiones.  Padre Mario viene de Corinth. Padre Albeen viene de New Albany.  Y Padre Henry y yo venimos de Tupelo.  Los niños de la clase de primera comunión van a recibir su primera reconciliación este día y sus papas van a recibir el sacramento en la misa ocasión también.  Necesitamos aprovechar de esta oportunidad para tener el sacramento de reconciliación al inicio de nuestro camino de Adviento.  Queremos tener una temporada de Adviento muy profunda este año. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Servicio de Reconciliación – lunes – el 30 de noviembre – 6:00 pm Iglesia de St James - Tupelo - Mississippi

Este fin de semana, empezamos las semanas de adviento – semanas de preparación y espera. En adviento, tenemos la llamada por la parte de la Iglesia para participar en el sacramento de reconciliación. Tenemos un servicio de reconciliación en español este lunes a las 6:00 de la tarde. Los niños de la clase de la primera comunión tienen que asistir a este servicio con sus padres para recibir este sacramento. Padre Lincoln, Padre Mario de Corinth, Padre Albeen de New Albany, y Padre Henry de Tupelo van a participar para escuchar sus confesiones. Gracias por su participación en la vida de nuestra comunidad de fe.

11/29/2015 – 1st Sunday of Advent – Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36, Jeremiah 33:13-16

Today, we start our journey during the holy season of Advent at the beginning of our new liturgical year.  In the upcoming Sundays of Advent, we will hear from some great Advent messengers about how we can prepare a way for the Lord in our lives:  from John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus' ministry and from the Virgin Mary, who prepared herself for Jesus' birth.  On this 1st Sunday of Advent, we hear Jesus' prophecy about the end of the world and his second coming. We might wonder how this message about the end times to come ties into our celebration of Advent and our preparations for the birth of Christ.  I had not been a priest very long when a rather new Catholic came to me, telling me that this was the first Advent and Christmas he was observing as a Catholic. He was a anxious, wanting advice as to what he needed to do.   He put it this way: What are the rules of Advent?   What kind of fasting, praying, and other preparation do I need to do?  

Although we journey through Advent and Christmas each year, perhaps we're also not quite sure how we should approach Advent this year in preparing for Christ's birth.  If we have challenges or struggles in our family life or at work or in school, perhaps it's tempting to think that these challenges and struggles prevent us from entering into Advent properly.  Perhaps we believe that in order to observe Advent, we need a big change in our mood and need to separate ourselves from our tough real life experiences.  In fact, the opposite is true.   Advent is about letting God come to us, about letting God enter our world in a special way in this time of waiting and expectation.  Many of us might think that we need to clean up our lives before we start Advent.  But, by opening ourselves to Advent in the messiness of our lives, we'll open ourselves to God's message of salvation and his saving love, a message that we so desperately need to hear even if we’ve heard it before.

Today's Gospel might be a wake-up call for us in the midst of our daily reality. The signs to come in the end times will be so profound and so frightening that the sun, the moon, and the stars will be changed, the nations of the earth will be perplexed and dismayed.  This vision isn't meant to frighten us, but to encourage us and to give us hope in the midst of our reality.   Jesus predicts that chaos will occur in the end times, that the world's natural order will be shaken up.  But we are to stand firm against these upcoming disorders and temptations.  We are to raise our heads up high because redemption is at hand. Jeremiah predicted that calamity and exile would befall Israel and Judah, but he gives a promise of new hope as well, of a shoot that will bud on the old stalk of David.  Jeremiah gives the people a promise of recovery and of God's eternal fidelity. F. The Jews who suffered in exile and who looked back at bountiful days of the past can now look forward with longing and hope.  During Advent, we are called to long for the Lord of justice that was foretold by Jeremiah, we are called to long for the birth of our Lord. 

“Be vigilant at all times and pray”: this is Jesus’ command in today's Gospel. This is a good theme for us to keep in mind this Advent season: Be vigilant and pray.  As a time of waiting and anticipation, Advent gets its title from the Latin word “adveniat,” which means to come or to arrive.  But Advent is not a passive season where we sit around doing nothing while we wait.  We have work to do during Advent, but this work is a process, an act of becoming.  Before we can be vigilant, perhaps we need to become more transparent, to remove the masks we put up to ourselves and to the world.  As part of our Advent preparations, the Church calls us to participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to do penance for our sins and to make the changes we need to make in our lives.  We will have Advent reconciliation services these next two Mondays at 6:00 pm.  This upcoming Monday, November 30, it will be in Spanish, and the next Monday, December 7, it will be in English.  However, on both evenings, priests will be there to hear your confessions in either language, so you may come to either service, since I know we have very busy schedules this time of year.  I really want to encourage to participate in this sacrament and to make a part of your Advent time of preparation.  This Advent season, may all of us be open to the many ways God is present to us as we prepare for the birth of our Lord.

Bendición de la corona del adviento - Primer domingo del adviento - 29 de noviembre de 2015


Vamos a bendecir esta corona con agua bendita. 

La tierra, Señor, se alegra en estos días del adviento y tu Iglesia desborda de gozo ante tu Hijo, nuestro Señor Jesucristo.  El es la luz esplendorosa que ilumina en las tinieblas del mundo.

Encendemos, Señor, esta luz como esperanza durante la espera del nacimiento de su hijo.

En esta primera semana del adviento, queremos levantarnos para esperarte preparados, para recibirte con alegría en el día de Navidad. ¡Ven, Señor Jesús!