- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.s1ipfCM1.dpuf CatholicTV: December 2007

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas is here...the Lord Jesus is near!

“While they were there, she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger…”

Do you think that St. Luke had any clue as to the significance of these words? Do you think he had any idea it would come to this…I mean, this Christmas thing we do?

This birth was honored first by Mary, Joseph and a few smelly shepherds. The next year it was remembered in a stone and straw hut at Nazareth…a hundred years later in an underground community enduring persecution…a thousand years later in a more enlightened society that thought the world was flat. Here we are in 2007 doing what has been done by an ever-increasing number of people for more than two millennia.

For all this time, people have been considering the birth of this one person, this little child, to be an event so significant to them personally and to the entire human family, that we have found cause, year after year, to celebrate.

Let’s not over-decorate this happening in Bethlehem. There was no snow; there were no lights…just the unfortunate circumstance of a newly married couple about to have a baby with no place to stay. They found shelter in a stable used by men to corral their sheep. And this was a young, probably teenage girl giving birth with only the help of her embarrassed and confused husband. She gave birth to a son conceived at the message of a strange visitor from the heavens. She placed the baby in an animal feeder and they named him “Jesus” meaning “One who saves”.

That is what really happened. For thousand years and another thousand years, this seemingly insignificant event has been remembered and celebrated…because, deep down, we know, along with millions around the world, countless millions who have preceded us, along with all the angels of heaven…we know, that this simple birth is, in fact, the turning point of all human history.

We honor, not so much a moment in time, but rather a person, the person of Jesus…Jesus who is the very essence of God wrapped in the fullness of our humanity. What an amazing, awesome thing…our God has come to live and walk among us…and two thousand years later He still lives, mysteriously in our presence. I do believe that each of us seeks Him; we wish to touch and to know the mystery of God made human, the eternal Word made flesh. It is this search that motivates and fuels our work a CatholicTV.

For more than two thousand years peoples lives have been changed profoundly by this One person. For all this time people like us have come to Christ Jesus for hope and forgiveness and inner peace. He personally invites you with these words: “Come to me, all you who labor and find life sometimes a burden and I will refresh you.”

All praise and glory to Jesus Christ…He is with us.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Words remembered from retreat...

Last week I had the privilege of a few days away from CatholicTV to be quiet and pray a bit more than usual. On the feast of St. Lucy, the Office of Readings gave me words that never hit me in past years, words that now I will always remember...

St Ambrose wrote: "When you are in your room, then, at night, think always on Christ, and wait for his coming at every moment. Embrace him, the one you have sought; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for he is swift in his passing. Whoever seeks Christ in this way, whoever prays to Christ in this way, is not abandoned by him; on the contrary, Christ comes again and again to visit such a person, for he is with us until the end of the world."

My retreat is over and I am back at my desk at CatholicTV. These unique days of Advent will pass quickly as well. We should take the advice of St. Ambrose to heart, at every moment waiting for His coming, always thinking on Christ.

As Christmas draws near, wait on the Lord and tune in for great Advent and Christmas specials right here on CatholicTV.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The cause of our Joy

On CatholicTV and in our parishes we sing in these familiar words: “Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel shall come to you…” On Christmas morning we will sing: “Joy to the World, the Lord is come…”

Joy…that is the word of the day…Rejoice. Traditionally this weekend has been referred to as Gaudete Sunday or the Sunday of Joy. It is the weekend we begin to light the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath and the vestments at Mass might be rose colored.

We rejoice because the coming of our God is close at hand…like the precious yield of the soil for which the farmer waits.

What does it mean to be joyful? Happy…well, yes. But many things make us happy. Christmas cards and lights for example, or finding the right gift; the sight of Santa Claus, an easy day at school or at work; good health, new clothes, going out to supper or the movies; here in Boston, celebrating a World Series win or watching the Patriots win again and again!

However, there is a little, no a lot more to being joyful than just feeling happy. There are so many things which make us unhappy…the threat of terrorism, for one; a war that drags on and on with the weekly report of young soldiers killed in their prime; crime in our city streets; the sickness of a family member or perhaps our own struggling condition; the way that the celebration of Christmas gets grosser and stranger every year; perhaps some dream or goal that remains unrealized; a death in the family and grief that we just cannot get past. We have much to be sad about but, I would daresay that though we might be saddened, at the same time, be able to rejoice!

I think of the great work being done in parishes all over the place. I think of the hard work that groups such as the St. Vincent de Paul Society or the Salvation Army or the Globe Santa do for struggling families. I think of the ongoing work of our Religious Education Programs and RCIA teams who share the fullness of the Faith with young and old. I think of the real spirit of this season which is precisely the presence of our God among us…He Who came as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in an animal feeder.

These things are the cause of great joy. Despite the many difficulties and controversy that swirl around us, the Church is very much alive…right here! Jesus Christ is among us and He is alive! How fortunate we are to have such an instrument as CatholicTV to bring the true joy of the Gospel message to you, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Had Jesus Christ not come among us in Bethlehem some two millennia ago, what good would life be to us? We will listen to those words sung next Easter at the Great Vigil: "What good would life have been to us had Christ not come as our Redeemer.”

This is the cause of our joy: the coming of our God among us – to renew His friendship with us, to bring us hope and to show us true love. In this Eucharist the words of the prophet Isaiah ring true: Be strong, fear not: here is your God.

Rejoice, rejoice…to you shall come Emmanuel. Jesus is the One for whom we look; He is the object of our deepest desire! This Christmas, what we await is more than something to simply make us happy…it is Jesus, the cause of our joy.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Bicentennial in full swing!

Catholics of the Archdiocese of Boston began their observance of the 200th anniversary of the archdiocese with a special Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on the first Sunday of Advent. It was very well-attended, with many priests, deacons, religious and faithful representing the parishes of this local Church. The choirs represented the diversity of our archdiocese with the Cathedral Brass Ensemble, the Cathedral Hispanic Choir, the Cathedral Festival Choir and different parish choirs representing the Brazilian, Haitian, Kenyan, Korean and Vietnamese communities.

If you still haven’t had a chance to watch the Mass, you can watch see it on demand at the CatholicTV web site by clicking here. If you would like to simply hear Cardinal Sean’s homily to open this year of celebration, simply click here.

During this bicentennial year, there will be a number of events. One very important initiative is “Arise: Together in Christ,” a program prepared by Renew International that is the cornerstone of our celebration. A new Archdiocesan web page will be launched in the upcoming year, and there is already a site for the bicentennial at http://www.boston200.org/.