Welcome

These reflections are a result of more than 40 years of ministry as a Roman Catholic priest. Most of these years I spent in the Diocese of Charlotte which covers Western North Carolina. Now I am retired, and live in Medellín, Colombia where I continue to serve as a priest in the Archdiocese of Medellín.

Wednesday, 06 January 2021 00:00

WEDNESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY, January 6

Beloved, if God so loved us,
we also must love one another. 
. . . .
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. 
(1 Jn 4:11-18)

But when they saw him walking on the sea,
they thought it was a ghost and cried out. 
They had all seen him and were terrified. 
But at once he spoke with them,
“Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” 
(Mk 6:45-52)

The First Letter of John seems to repeat over and over again, “We must love one another.” And for good reason, sometimes we forget that it means nothing to say that “God loves us” if we don’t in turn love one another. And to terrified disciples in every age, the Lord simply reminds us, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!”

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Beloved, let us love one another,
because love is of God;
everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
(1 Jn 4:7-10)

When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things. 
. . . . Those who ate of the loaves were five thousand.
(Mk 6:34-44)

The theme of “manifestation” continues with the Feeding of the 5,000 in Mark’s gospel which reveals the tenderness of the Lord, “his heart was moved with pity for them.” The First Letter of John speaks a lot about Love, and then reveals that Love does not consist in that we have loved God, but rather that God has loved us by sending us the Son. Today is the feast of Saint John Neumann, bishop of Philadelphia.

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From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
"Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand."
He went around all of Galilee,
 teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, 
and curing every disease and illness among the people. 
(Mt 4:12-17,23-25)

This week after Epiphany we are continuing the theme of the “manifestation” of Jesus in selections from the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Today is the beginning of Jesus’ proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and of his healing ministry in Matthew’s gospel. In the United States today is the feast of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Many years ago, my mother and I visited the Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. I celebrated Mass on the altar over the tomb of Saint Elizabeth Ann shown in the photo.

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Sunday, 03 January 2021 00:00

THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD, Sunday, January 3

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod, 
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 
"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage."
. . . .
And on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures 
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
(Mt 2:1-12)

The question of Epiphany—what gift do we bring him?

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R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise.
R.    All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God.
(Psalm 98)

What we are celebrating is God’s revelation to poor shepherds and to us. “Break into song, sing praise” is reflected in the wealth of church music for this special season. May our hearts be lifted up to “sing to the Lord a new song.”

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The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
(Num 6:22-27)

Today is the Octave Day of Christmas and one of the oldest feasts of the Virgin Mary. It is also New Year’s Day. What is interesting is the Aaronic Blessing from the Book of Numbers, invoking the Lord’s name over the people. What we normally hear as a Final Blessing at the end of Mass, makes a wonderful blessing for the beginning of this New Year 2021. And to all of you faithful readers, a blessed New Year 2021! The photo today is of the icon of the Mother of God, Light in All Darkness by Father William McNichols, SJ. 

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Children, it is the last hour.
(1 Jn 2:18-21)

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
(Jn 1:1-18)

You can’t say the Liturgy doesn’t have a sense of humor. Here on the last day of the year 2020, the Liturgy tells us it’s the “last hour.” But even more, on this last day of the year, the Liturgy gives us the “Last Gospel.” Most of us wouldn’t remember that the Prologue to the Fourth Gospel was read following the final blessing of low Mass. So we are told it is the “last hour” and we get the “Last Gospel” to close out 2020. The song today is Faltan 5 para las 12 (It's 5 Minutes to Midnight). 

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