Father David's Reflection for the Seventh Day of Christmas

The Responsorial Psalm still invites us, “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice” (Psalm 96). 1 John 2: 18-21 gives us an unexpected reason for rejoicing: “Many antichrists have appeared…. They went out from us, but…. their desertion shows that they were not really of our number.” John is talking about people who left the Church preaching a view of life in radical contradiction to the truth revealed in Jesus. He judges that they didn’t lose the faith; they just never truly embraced it. What is there here to rejoice in? We rejoice, not because others are in error, but because we are in a community of truth. And it is a gift from God “You have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,

Father David's Reflection for the Sixth Day of Christmas

The Responsorial Psalm invites us again, “Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice” (Psalm 96). 1 John 2: 2-17 tells us why: “because your sins have been forgiven… because you know him who is from the beginning… because you have conquered the Evil One… because you know the Father… you are strong and the word of God remains in you….” John acknowledges the power of “the world,” meaning the infected societies in which all humans live, whose false attitudes and values keep affecting us because we see and hear them every day. But the powerful impact the “world” has on us with its images, words, sound-bites, music, and enveloping tides of cultural trends has been countered by the visible pres

Father David's Reflection for Holy Family Sunday

HOLY FAMILY SUNDAY (The first Sunday after Christmas) Appreciating and Accepting Jesus as: “Emmanuel – God-with-us” who interacts with us in human ways Inventory Whom do you know best in your family? How did that happen? Did you spend more time together? Talk more deeply to each other? What is it you do with your friends that makes you friends? How many of these things can you do with Jesus? Input The Entrance Antiphon tells us Jesus was first seen by shepherds, who “found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.” The first people to find Jesus found him in the context of a family. And this is where most people find him. Most of us meet Jesus at home. But many don’t. In many families

Father David's Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Innocents

The Holy Innocents The Responsorial Psalm speaks of God’s power and will to save us: “Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare” (Psalm 124). 1 John 1:5 to 2:2 is based on recognition that the essential sin is simply to reject union — koinonia, fellowship, communion — with Jesus Christ. All other sins are just signs that tell us if we are in union with him or not. For John, being in communion with the Christian community is the greatest sign of union with Christ. And living by Christ’s light is the sign we are in communion with the community: “If we walk in the light… we have fellowship with one another….” In our day we are very conscious of the number of people who are n

Father David's Reflection for the Feast of Saint John

The Responsorial Psalm gives us the key, not only to the readings, but to Christian life: “Rejoice in the Lord, you just” (Psalm 97). 1 John 1: 1-4 explains why we rejoice: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” In Jesus, the Word of life, “life was made visible… the eternal life that was with the Father was made visible to us.” And John, called the “Evangelist” (the “Good-News-er”), proclaims it to all who will listen “so that you too may have fellowship with us.” This is what Christianity is all about: koinonia: “fellowship,” “community,” “communion in the Holy Spirit” with God and with one another in the intimate union of one shared life, one shared light, one

Father David's Reflection for the Feast of Saint Stephen (first martyr)

The Responsorial Psalm is the Christian response to death: “Into your hands, O Lord, I entrust my spirit” (Psalm 31). Acts 6:8 to 7:59 reminds us that the Good News is good news even when it seems to be bad! Stephen is stoned to death by his own people for proclaiming Jesus. But before they attacked him, “filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” That is what gave him the faith, the hope and the love to pray, while they were stoning him, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Because of Jesus, even death is good news! What enraged Stephen’s hearers was the truth. Stephen gave a short summary of God’s dealings with his C

Father David's Reflection for Christmas Morning

CHRISTMAS MORNING (Mass During the Day) The Responsorial Psalm proclaims: “All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God” (Psalm 98). And all three readings emphasize the uniqueness of this “saving power,” which abides in Jesus, who is uniquely the “Son of God.” Isaiah 52: 7-10 keeps insisting that the power that saves us is God’s own: “Your God is King!,” ”They see… before their eyes, the LORD restoring Zion…. The LORD comforts his people… the LORD has bared his holy arm….” Hebrews 1: 1-6 is unequivocal about the uniqueness of Jesus: “God spoke to our ancestors in partial and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son…. He is the refulgen

Father David's Reflection for Christmas Midnight Mass

CHRISTMAS MIDNIGHT MASS The Good News of Jesus the Savior Inventory “Gospel” means “Good News.” Have you experienced Christianity as good news or just heard that it is? How is Jesus “news” to people today? What is so good about whatever Christianity is? When do you personally think about this and celebrate it? Input The Entrance Antiphon tells us, “Let us all rejoice in the Lord, for our Savior is born to the world. True peace has descended from heaven.” What gives hope of peace is something (Someone) from heaven who is now present on earth. The Good News is a new and special presence of God in the world: the “Incarnation”; that is, God’s “taking flesh” as a human being on this earth. The al

Father David's Reflection for the Nativity of the Lord (Christmas Vigil Mass - not midnight)

The Feast of Christ’s Birth Inventory Do you appreciate Jesus? What effect does he have on your daily life? Does the thought of him make you happy? How often do you think of him? What does it mean to you (affectively as well as intellectually) to say Jesus is the Savior of the world and your Savior? Input The Entrance Antiphon tells us, “Today you will know the Lord is coming to save us, and in the morning you will see his glory.” This is from Exodus 16: 6-7, when God promises to “rain bread from heaven” for his People each day while they are in the desert. The “manna” has been replaced by Jesus, the “living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51). This Bread of Life is available to us

Father David's Reflection for the Fourth Tuesday of Advent

The Responsorial Psalm proclaims: “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord” (Psalm 89: 2-9). The goodness celebrated here and in both the readings is God’s “steadfast love,” a phrase found 173 times in the Bible. When Moses asked God, “Show me your glory,” God answered, “I will make all my goodness pass before you.” Then “the LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 33:12 to 34:6). Steadfast love (in Hebrew hesed, in Greek charis) and faithfulness (Hebrew emet, Greek aletheia), which we find translated either as “grace and truth” or as “kindness and fidelity,” are th

Father David's Reflection for the Fourth Monday of Advent

O Emmanuel The Responsorial Psalm invites us to recognize and accept the divine mystery of our redemption: “Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand” (Psalm 25: 4-14) The Incarnation, the Word made flesh in Jesus, is the key to everything: “O Emmanuel, God’s presence among us… save us, Lord our God” (O Antiphon). In Malachi 3: 1-24 God promises he will send a “messenger to prepare the way before me.” But we may feel apprehensive: “Who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner's fire…. he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.” Je

Father David's Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) Jesus Gives Us Divine Life Appreciating and Accepting Jesus as “Son of God” who empowers us to live on the level of God Inventory What does it mean to me to live a “good life”? Is it the same as a “Christian life”? Is it enough for a Christian to be just a really good human being? Input In the Entrance Antiphon we ask God both to let the “earth to bring forth” and the “clouds rain down” our Savior. Jesus comes from both heaven and earth — to give us the fullness of life, both human and divine. In the Opening Prayer we ask God to “fill our hearts with your love” —the divine love proper to God himself. This is Jesus’ “new” Commandment: “I give you a new com

Father David's Reflection for the Third Saturday of Advent

O Radiant Dawn The Responsorial Psalm calls us to: “Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song.” We exult because “our soul waits for the Lord…” with deep longing, and he is given to us (Psalm 33). Song of Songs 2: 8-14 is a poem of desire between lover and beloved. She awaits; he invites: “Arise, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come!... See, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth.” Advent is a time of triple expectation: we await the celebration of Christ’s coming to earth at Christmas; we await his coming in glory at the end of the world; and we await his coming for us, as lover to beloved, at the moment of our death. No one of th

Father David's Reflection for the Third Friday of Advent

“O Key of David” The Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 24) invites us to open our hearts to the Son of God: “Let the Lord enter; he is the king of glory.” But only by the power of God can we open ourselves to the mystery that God offers us: “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” which is the favor of sharing in God’s own divine life. And so in the O Antiphon we call out: “O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom, come and free the prisoners of darkness.” In Isaiah 7: 10-14 Ahaz was afraid to ask for a sign from God. And in Luke 1: 26-38 Mary was “troubled” because the angel called her “highly favored” and “blessed among women.” There is something in us that is afraid to believe God

Father David's Reflection for the Third Thursday of Advent

“O Flower of Jesse” The Responsorial Psalm is: “Fill me with your praise and I will sing your glory” (Psalm 71). We need to praise God, celebrating what is good about him, or we will not appreciate his glory. Judges 13: 2-25 tells us Samson was born of a woman who “had borne no children.” But “an angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son.” This reminds us of the story of Sarah, the mother of Isaac (Genesis 11:30; 17: 15-19; 21: 1-3); Rebekah, the mother of Jacob (Genesis 25:21}; Rachel, the mother of Jacob’s sons Joseph and Benjamin (Genesis 29:31, 30: 22-24; 34: 16-18); Hannah, the mother of

Father David's Reflection for the Third Wednesday of Advent

“O Leader” The Responsorial Psalm is the same as yesterday: “Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever” (Psalm 72). But now we go deeper. We ask how Jesus will bring this about. Jeremiah 23:5-8 tells us God will “raise up a righteous shoot (stem) to David… to reign and govern wisely…. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel dwell in security.” The O Antiphon tells us this will come about through the wisdom of his laws: “O Leader of the House of Israel, giver of the law to Moses on Sinai.…” But Jesus does not save us by laws alone. The antiphon continues, “come to rescue us with your mighty power.” Good laws can bring about justice, but Jesus does much more than tha

Father David's Reflection for the Third Tuesday of Advent

“O Wisdom” The Responsorial Psalm says Jesus will save us and our society from the destructive situations we keep getting into: “Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever” (Psalm 72). For this Genesis 49: 2-10 looks to a person — not to a philosophy or a political platform; not even to a religion of true doctrines and good rules — but to a living person who will set things right: “You, Judah….” The Psalm underlines this: “Endow the king… He shall govern… In him shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” We apply this to Jesus: “Justice shall flourish in his time and fullness of peace forever” Matthew 1: 1-17 makes it clear that Jesus was the particular human desce

Father David's Reflection for the Third Monday of Advent

The Responsorial Psalm tells us how Jesus saves us: “Teach me your ways, O Lord” (Psalm 25). Numbers 24: 2-17 Makes its point with humor. Moab was being attacked by the Jews. The king summoned Balaam, a prophet, to curse the Jewish army. But on the way the donkey Balaam was riding saw an angel standing in the path and turned off the road. Balaam beat it. Finally the donkey just lay down, and Balaam beat it some more. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?" Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!" But the donkey

Father David's Reflection for the Third Sunday of Advent

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT (YEAR A) Jesus Saves Us from Sin Appreciating and Accepting Jesus as: “Jesus – God Saves” — who frees us from darkness and diminishment Inventory What gives me more joy than anything else on earth? What do I think about with joy (rejoice in) most often? To what do my thoughts keep turning? A person I love? A child, perhaps? Life? Beauty? A work I am involved in? Input The Entrance Antiphon suggests we go deeper. “Rejoice in the Lord always!” Why? Because “the Lord is near.” This is what makes us able to rejoice in everything else. The joy we find in those we love, in life, beauty and the contribution we are making to life on this planet would be bitter-sweet if we

Father David's Reflection for the Second Saturday of Advent

The Responsorial Psalm gives us the starting point of fulfillment: “Lord, make us turn to you” (Psalm 80). Sirach 48: 1-11 tells us this was the role of the prophet Elijah: “to turn back the hearts of fathers toward their children, and to re-establish the tribes of Israel.” This was also John the Baptizer’s role: “He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of… the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1: 16-17). Jesus said that for those who were “willing to accept it,” John the Baptizer was “Elijah who is to come” (Matthew 11:14). But

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