Not every person is called to marriage, but every person is called to family, because God is ultimately the Father and Mother of each one of us. While God is the source of our life, He wants each one of us to have a human father and a human mother, just as God wanted His own Son Jesus to have a human father (Joseph) and a human mother (Mary). It is important for husband and wife to remain united because, when they are strongly united, they make a good shelter for their children.
We celebrate the Birthday of Jesus because He comes to tell us: I Love You. Poor and rich, simple and clever, Jew and Gentile – I love you. On the Cross I love you. At the Mass I love you. He wants to hear us say: I love You too.
Jesus was born in a little shack, at the edge of town, and Mary and Joseph probably thought that nobody at all would notice them…until the shepherds showed up. We might think that nobody notices and nobody cares, but God notices, and God cares, and God’s angels are always around us. Because of this truth, we should not be afraid of anything, and we should let God help us with everything.
We face challenging situations that can cause us to lose our peace. The example of Ahaz from the book of Isaiah shows us how we can lose our peace and if we don’t trust in God. The story of St. Joseph from the Gospel of Matthew shows us how we can keep our peace if we approach challenges with obedience to God’s word. No matter what happens, whether in politics or in our personal life, we can keep our peace if we keep our faith in God.
You haven’t finished your Christmas shopping – you forgot the Birthday Boy! There is only one thing He really needs: space to be born. Being Welcoming costs us something. Will you make space in your life for Jesus?
The Christian life is a joyful life. We need to learn to live in joy by savoring the good moments, and by looking past the difficult moments with trust that good things are coming. So many people do exactly the opposite: they wallow in the sufferings and look past the joys because they are certain difficult times are coming. When people are unhappy, they can try to steal the joy from others, and a good example of this is How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
John the Baptist might be getting discouraged, and so might we: Where is the Lord? Don’t be discouraged. The Lord who is coming is already here. Pope Francis said: “… in these things we always find Jesus.” Advent is about starting to see that the Lord is here right now, in things as simple as a Grace before Meals. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say: Rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.”
Mary was a perfect space for Jesus because she was never cluttered with selfishness. God made her Immaculate because she welcomed Jesus; God wants each of us to welcome Jesus and so become Immaculate like Mary. There’s an old habit of putting one piece of straw in the manger for each kind thing we do before Christmas. What can you do to make a soft place for Jesus?
When Jesus came to earth, He did not begin sorting the good from the bad right away. Instead He came to plant faith on the earth so that there could be an abundant harvest. We have been given the faith, but it needs to grow. Mary helps nourish the faith in our hearts and she helps teach her children to walk. The walk of faith is when we do not rely on the things around us for support, and Mary help us take our first faith steps.
Nelson Mandela brought Truth and Reconciliation to South Africa. The coming Messiah brings Truth and Reconciliation, and we must repent and be prepared. John the Baptist condemns the Pharisees for creating a crooked yardstick to measure people. We need to put down our crooked yardsticks and let Jesus do the measuring. A good way to do this is a nightly examination of Conscience. Repent today, because the Lord is closer than you think.