17 December 2011
As many of you may know, this past October, my dad Isaias died suddenly of a massive heart attack. While it has been nearly two months (on Christmas day) it has been strange to keep expecting him to arrive from a trip. The reality is that the next time I see my dad, we will hopefully be in a place where the glory of Christmas is eternally proclaimed. The reason I bring up my dad is because since his death, the house has seemed a bit darker, and during this advent season, the journey toward the celebration of the Nativity has taken a truly anticipatory feel for myself and my family. While we await the celebration that is to come, we understand that it will be like no other. This having been said, as I reflected on the Scriptures this week, I was touched by the gesture that David offers to God, "let me build you a home" he says, and in short reply, God reminds David that it is He who has given us a home and that it is in Him alone that we find all that we have. This thought is important because it allows us to walk from being children of God as the Israelites were, to being children of God, who have known Christ. In our knowing and believing in Christ, we are brought to a place where we no longer offer to build a "house" for God, instead, we prepare ourselves to be worthy vessels of Christ, of Him who is Emmanuel and in whom is our hope. By doing so, we no longer look with anticipation to knowing a God who is distant and aloof, or one that can only be met in the Temple, instead, we come to know God in the intimacy of the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and there, like Mary, we are able to say "I am the servant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word" in our participating in communion, we actively enter into a relationship with God where we are called to holiness, where life is found, even in the midst of confusion and darkness, where death is only a moment of transformation, and not an end. Today, this last Sunday of Advent, our journey continues, but during these last few days of reflection and preparation, we are invited to become more and more, worthy temples of God who is indeed among us, and in whom is our life and our light. And so, as my family and I anticpate this Christmas day, we gather with some sadness, but with the knowledge that even in the pain of this loss, light will abound because God is indeed with us! Peace be with you and know that you are loved. Fr. Rick
10 December 2011
I recently watched the Muppets movie with great joy. For the time I was in the theater watching this film, I felt like a kid again. Watching Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy and the gang brought back memories of watching the Muppet show on TGIFriday on ABC when I was growing up. What was interesting for me, however, was the anticipation with which I greeted the movie. Although I am not a BIG fan of the Muppets, something within me was sparked, and my excitement to see these lovable characters once again was a joyous and jovial! I write about this because today we are preparing to celebrate the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday! Its the first time of two during which the Church invites us to wear Rose, not pink! Anyway, the reason the Muppets came to mind during my preparation was because just as I felt great joy at going to watch this movie, and these characters, the Church today invites us to live with great joy as we continue to prepare for the coming of the Light! Today, we even wear a color that is not like any other, nor is it common. Instead, we make today special as we become aware of the Light and we celebrate the feast of His Incarnation. Today, in color and in reading, we are reminded that just as the morning sky gloriously announces the dawn in an amazing array of color, so too, we see and hear about the amazing Light that is coming ever nearer, and if we are attuned to this great event and this Great Person, we will find ourselves dancing with great anticipation, this time, not over a movie, but over Him who is our Light and our Salvation, Christ. And so, as we continue our Advent journey, I recall the opening words of the Muppet Show theme song: It's time to start the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to get things started (in our hearts, here tonight) --that's my addition! May God's blessings continue to fill you as the sun fills the morning sky, and may the joy and peace of our Lord Incarnate fill you now and always! Love ya! Fr Rick.
04 December 2011
This is the Second Sunday of Advent, and as I reflected on today's readings, I was remembering the day my dad died. On October 25, I was driving as fast as I could (and as safely too) from Colorado Springs, Colorado when I received a phone call at 2:41 (MST). It was my brother and he told me that there was no more need to hurry. From that moment on, I started driving in a very different manner. It felt as though I was in a surreal place where time stood still. In that stillness, however, for the next 10 hours, I was able to sit in solitude as I prayed, felt, and journeyed home. The reason this came to mind was that in Advent, we are reminded of our very real need to slow down and become aware of God in our lives. All too often, like me, we speed through life trying to get "there" where ever that may be, and in the rush, we are left in a state of knowing about Christ, but never truly knowing Him. As we celebrate this second Sunday of Advent, we are invited to slow down and enjoy the time to pray and to become aware that God has indeed "comforted" His people. We have each been gifted with the grace of knowing Him and carrying the light of Christ, but it is all too often overlooked by the darkness of sin and doubt that we may sometimes fall into. In our journey, let's slow down, and allow God's love to help us prepare a place in our beings that will receive Christ and proclaim Him, in turn, to a world too busy to slow down and appreciate His grace here and now. Peace and blessings. Fr. Rick.