February 23, 2020
There is a word not easily defined – holy! During the Mass, at the end of the preface, we pray together: “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.” We speak of holy people who inspire us – the saints. Artists depict them with a halo – a light or glow circling their head. The English word “holy” is rooted in the word “whole.” It is related to the Latin word “sacer” or “sacred” meaning “set apart.” A person who truly lives with wholeness and integrity is “set apart” for divine purposes.
In our first reading, the Book of Leviticus, God tells Moses to inform the Hebrews that they are called to “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” We are holy because God is holy. “Holiness” is being “Godlike.” God is “set apart” but involved with the created world through acts of compassion, guardianship, restoration of brokenness, and power that sustains the universe. Again, speaking through Moses, God commands the People of Israel: “You shall not bear hatred for your brothers or sisters in your heart… Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” As well as relating to God with awe, reverence, and right worship, God’s holy people are also to care for one another.
We sing the responsorial psalm refrain: “The Lord is king and merciful.” Our “holiness” must emulate divine kindness and mercy.
St. Paul reminds the Church at Corinth that “you are the temple of God.” God dwells in/with us. We call God’s Triune Life in us Sanctifying grace. Divine indwelling is the source of our holiness.
Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, challenges his disciples “to love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you that you may be children of your heavenly Father.” Those who follow Jesus on the path of holiness, must have love for both enemies and neighbors. “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
We can both know and not know another person. We shouldn’t be too surprised to hear John “the Baptist” pointing out Jesus: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” and then acknowledging: “I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.” Can we ever truly know another person? ... READ MORE
It is a dramatic moment for Jesus and for John – the Baptist. John has been chastising and calling people to a baptism of repentance to prepare for the one who is to come. And now Jesus steps forward to be baptized! Jesus has been living in relative obscurity and now he goes public. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord can be an occasion for us to consider our baptismal ... READ MORE
In a very short time, all flights to Houston were sold out. Fans had to scramble to schedule flights to neighboring cities and then rent cars or take trains or buses. Some chose to drive from WNY in order to grill and snack before the game. It is amazing what some will do to attend a Bills Playoff game. After proclaiming the Gospel according to St. Matthew, can we question... READ MORE
At this time of the year (closeout and new beginning) articles and media reviews highlight the best and worst of 2019 in events, personalities, sports, books, movies, songs etc. Old man 2019 takes his last steps. 2020 arrives as a new baby. But we are less influenced by these people and events in society and shaped more mentally, emotionally and spiritually by our families... READ MORE
It is an unassuming structure considering its significance and antiquity. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was first constructed in 339 but pilgrims had been visiting the place for generations. It was remembered as the place of Jesus’ birth in an animal shelter in a cave. There is only one door leading to the place were traditions says Jesus was born – only 4 fe... READ MORE