Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent - 2014; A Reflection

Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64: 2-7
1 Corinthians 1: 3-9
Mark 13: 33-37

We are entering the Advent season, in preparation for the celebration of Christmas.  Of course, the department stores, electronics stores, the online shopping sites, have declared that now is the Christmas season.  “So buy now, now, NOW; while prices are low, low, LOW!”  And even those who do understand the meaning of this Advent season, they focus more on the preparation to remember the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as a human child.  We tend to forget that Advent is a time to also reflect on the Second Coming of Christ, at the end of time.  Many of us, I think, have the attitude that the Second Coming will not happen in our lifetimes.  This is fueled by scientific speculation that the Universe has billions of years left in it’s life, that Earth itself, has millions, if not billions years of life left in it. So we become complacent, we are like the college student who slacks off most of the academic year, figuring he can cram in his studies and be ready for his final examination.

Then today’s Gospel can be an alarm for us. For Jesus is grabbing us by the shoulders; shaking us and saying: “Watch!”  He is telling us, in no uncertain terms, that we do not know the day or the hour of his coming again, his coming in glory and power.  So we need to live every day, every hour, and every second, in expectation of Christ’s Second Coming!  And our hearts and souls must to ready, every day, every hour, and every second, to greet Him when He comes.  We must strive daily, to read, reflect on, and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We must live in expectation of encountering Christ daily, through God’s Creation, through His Word, in each other, and especially through the Eucharist.  We must work to make our hearts open to the Presence of our Living God..

This requires work, this requires preparation; it will mean a lifetime of work.  God is with us, ready to form us in a beautiful creation; as long as we do not harden our hearts against Him.  This is what the season Advent is to help us understand, to help us begin anew the work of conversion, to prepare and watch for the coming of the Lord.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Massachusetts Boy Makes Good - Again!

National Catholic Reporter's website has reported on the election results for various positions within the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.  The NCCB is meeting in Baltimore MD. 

Among those elected was a local fella, Bishop Christopher Coyne, auxiliary Bishop of Indianapolis.  He has been elected to head the Communications  committee.  He is one of the few bishops who maintains a blog, and regularly uses other social media platforms.

Prior to being named a bishop, Bishop Coyne was a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston.  He became Cardinal Bernard Law's press spokesman, in the midst of the clergy child abuse scandal in Boston.  He handled that assignment well.  I was impressed that he was willing to be available to the media.  Especially being interviewed by Emily Rooney, on Boston's public tv news program.

Part of the New Evangelization is to use all of the new media to reach out to young adults, and youth.  I think that with his experinces, Bishop Coyne should be very effective in this  new position.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Deacons and the New Evangelization

On November 8th, I attended the annual regional gathering of Permanent Deacons, held by the National Association of Diaconate Directors (NADD).  This year's hosts were the deacons of the Archdiocese of Boston.  Our theme was the deacon's role in implementing the program of the New Evangelization, in our local parishes, and in our wider society. 

Just a couple of thoughts, while I am between Masses this Sunday.  Every practicing Catholic is called to be an evangelizer.  Called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, by word and action.  Called to invite those who have fallen away from the Church, by loving them.

Deacons are well positioned for this, because we live our vocation to serve, to proclaim the Good News, not just in Church; but also in our homes, offices, the marketplace, and on the streets.  A nun, Mother Olga, said that when we wake up for the day, we are deacons, open to serving others, at every moment.  Open to speaking the Good News, by word and action, to everyone we come in contact with.  And thus, we can become examples to others on what it truly means to be Evangelizers.