We hear so very often that God loves us, that he sent his Son to die for us, that there is nothing we can do to earn his love and that we are called to love others with the same love he gives to us.
Is it possible to hear this truth week after week and year after year without allowing God’s merciful love to penetrate our hearts? Is it possible to “know” God loves us and yet refuse to put Christ at the center of our lives?
What one thing can you do this week to help you live a life that shines?
It doesn’t do any good to say, “I’ll pray more,” unless you have a real plan in place. Where will I pray? When? For how long? Will I pray alone or with others? What if I forget? How will I get back on track?READ MORE
It begins! Jesus is doing something new. “He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea.” Jesus leaves his family, his profession of carpentry, and everything he has known and loved for the previous 30 years. He goes because it is time. Something new is beginning, and Jesus will not begin it alone. “As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers … he walked along from there and saw two other brothers.” What does he say to these men? “Come after me.” These words are for Peter and Andrew, for James and for John. They are also for all of us.
“Come after me.” The adventure of discipleship will be strange, wild, and unexpected. The Apostles surely didn’t know what they were getting into. But the invitation is accompanied by a promise. “I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus tells the first Apostles. No more will their priorities be limited to this particular village, to the square miles of the Sea of Galilee. Their eyes will be open to the kingdom of God, and their priorities will shift.READ MORE
On the cusp of fame, power, or influence, would you turn it down? Today’s Gospel again features John the Baptist. Controversial but popular, John has gathered quite a group of followers. He has disciples. People come from near and far to be baptized by him. Pharisees and government leaders are drawn to his preaching. If John was another man, a lesser man, he would have claimed his own greatness. Instead, John the Baptist is a witness to humility.
“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God … he is the one of whom I said, “A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me.”… the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known.’” Rather than point to himself, John points to Christ. John could have grasped at what he had accumulated. He could have seen Jesus as a Messianic competitor. Instead, John knows who he is. He knows his place as forerunner. Because John knows who Jesus is. “I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”READ MORE
Our Church is back to Ordinary Time after the seasons of Advent and Christmas. The priest wears his green vestment, decorations are gone from the sanctuary, and the Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who came to take away our sins, and those of the whole world.
As we live the rhythms of our daily lives, let us make the extra effort to find ways to show ordinary everyday kindness to others, especially when we don’t feel like it. Our world is desperately in need of God’s love. Your family can make time to put God’s love in action. Choose one way to love “outside the box” this week. Here are a few ideas for ways you can surprise someone with kindness:
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives four reasons for the Incarnation, why God became man in Jesus Christ. The third reason is “to be our model of holiness.” All of Jesus’ words and actions model for us what we ought to do. He also shows us how we’re meant to be. Jesus’ baptism ought to remind us of our own baptism and of the importance of baptism in the Christian life.
The Baptism of the Lord reminds us of our Trinitarian identity. When we are baptized, we stand in solidarity with Christ, bathed in the waters he sanctified. There, the Father proclaims our adoption into the family of God. “‘This is my beloved son [this is my beloved daughter], with whom I am well pleased.’” And the Spirit, too, descends. We are filled with the Spirit’s grace and power to continue Christ’s mission on earth. We received these gifts in the sacrament, and they continue to dwell within us through sanctifying grace. We can — and should — invite God to stir up these graces of our baptism and consider them in our own lives.READ MORE
Did you make a resolution for the New Year?
Chances are if you wrote it down and are making the effort to keep your promise, you see good results from keeping your promise.
But, if you have already forgotten what you resolved to do, or you never really settled on a resolution to begin with, you are not alone. Most people can relate.
Whether you are good at resolutions or you fail at them, these excerpts from Pope Francis’ Christmas homily offer encouragement.
“Take courage, do not lose confidence, do not lose hope, do not think that to love is a waste of time! . . .Love has conquered fear, new hope has arrived, God’s kindly light has overcome the darkness of human arrogance.READ MORE
We may walk many roads when we search for God, and He leads us all the while. The men we honor today were not Jews. The Messiah wasn’t coming for them, not in the minds of Jesus’ contemporaries. These men were astrologers. They were adept at reading portents in the sky, a practice condemned in the Mosaic covenant. Still, to the best of their knowledge and awareness, they were seeking the truth. This truth led them to journey from their own homeland to honor a king they’d never met, one they couldn’t be sure truly existed. “‘We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’” Who do you know seeks God so tenaciously?
“Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem,” the Gospel tells us. Who are the seekers in your own life? Maybe it’s your cautiously curious co-worker, the neighbor who unexpectedly found peace on a yoga retreat, or your desperately angry child who has chosen, for now, to go their own way. Perhaps they’re not overtly headed for Jesus now, not yet. But they may well be seekers of truth in ways we didn’t expect. Our invitation is to listen, inquire, and give directions when appropriate.READ MORE
Dear OLPH parishioners,
Christmas is here! There is always a special joy in our hearts to welcome Our Savior Jesus Christ. On behalf of the whole OLPH family (parish/school /capilla) we would like to wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas.
We the school and parish staff as well as our many volunteers are working together to be good administrators with the resources that we have. As you have noticed, in the last six months, we have had some challenges with our building structures that needed repair. Among them, five A/C unit systems broke down and caused unexpected expenses but the Lord is always good to us and we were able to fix them.READ MORE
May your family delight in the wonder of this most foundational of Catholic celebrations – God come to earth in the baby Jesus!
This week, with the encouragement and aide of the Knights of Columbus we consecrate our families to the Holy Family promising to honor the sacredness of family life.
What graces will our consecration bring to our families, our community and our world?
As families, let us resolve to live more fully St. Paul’s admonition to us in today’s readings:READ MORE
On this final week of advent we relight the two purple candles for hope and peace, the pink candle for joy, and the third purple candle for love.
We have finally arrived at what Christmas is all about. It’s about God’s amazing love for each one of us. Love, and love alone explains why God brought his divine nature to earth and united it perfectly with our human nature in the body of the tiny baby Jesus.
We still need him today! There is no other who can teach us how to love without borders, to give without demanding that others earn our charity, to be peacemakers even in the middle of war zones.
What act of pure love can you do for someone who doesn’t expect it?READ MORE
Each Advent season, we prepare to welcome Jesus into the inns and stables of our hearts. But Jesus’ coming wasn’t welcomed by everyone with choirs of angels. For St. Joseph, the first coming of Jesus was a bit more complicated. “When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.” For Joseph, opening his heart (and home) to Jesus meant, at best, appearing to all the world like a man who had impregnated his wife out of wedlock. At worst, he appeared a cuckold, raising the child of another man. God doesn’t always appear the way we expect.
For some of us, the birth of Christ is a bit relationally complicated. Perhaps over the past few months, a loved one has died. This Christmas, you’re taking it upon yourself to keep up the traditions and hold the family together. Welcoming Jesus means welcoming grief. Perhaps it’s a difficult relative (or two or three) and it’s all you can do to bite your tongue and swallow your pride while they’re under your roof. Welcoming Jesus means welcoming strife, discord, and tension.READ MORE
Who did you come to see? A version of this question is posed by Jesus many times in the Gospels. He asks it of Andrew and John when they begin to follow him. He asks it of Mary Magdalene in the garden of the resurrection. He asks it in today’s Gospel. “What did you go out to the desert to see?” There is something innately human about “seeing.” Animals have eyes — some with much more powerful vision than our own — but that’s not the kind of seeing Jesus is talking about. We could phrase the question several other ways. “What are you looking for?” “What are you longing for?” “Whom do you seek?”
It is in seeing for ourselves that our suspicions or hypotheses are confirmed, that our desires discover their fulfillment, and that we can rest for a moment in certainty. John the Baptist sought certainty of Jesus’ identity. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus sends word to him based on the testimony of sight, observations of the mighty deeds Jesus has begun to work. “Go and tell John what you hear and see.”READ MORE
On this third week of advent we relight the two purple candles for hope and peace and we add the pink candle for joy!
How many places can you find joy in our Mass readings today.
In ten days, we will celebrate Jesus’ birth. Are we ready to welcome him with all the joy he deserves?
What fills your heart with joy as you and your family prepare for Christmas? How can you bring joy to someone who may feel sad this holiday?
What does it mean to be worthy? There are a few different ways to approach this question. Today’s Gospel highlights two: the way of the Pharisees and the way of John the Baptist. Our faith values good works and discipleship. Perhaps, then, we “earn” our worth by adhering to the right doctrines and following the right pious practice. The Pharisees thought they were worthy. Due to their religious pedigree and proper procedures, they were self-satisfied. John the Baptist’s words to them are strong. “Do not resume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’” Of course, Jesus (and John) don’t omit the responsibility for moral behavior. John gives the Pharisees quite a strong warning in that regard. “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance … every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”READ MORE
For this second week of Advent we light again the first purple candle for hope, and we light second purple candle – this one for peace.
How our world needs the Peace of Christ! While we are waiting for Christmas and for our Lord’s second coming, let us resolve once more to be peacemakers. But how?
We cannot give what we do not have, so a good place to begin in bringing peace into the world is to confess our sins and receive the peace of Christ into our own troubled hearts. When our hearts are filled with God’s love and mercy, we can call others to the peace, harmony, and justice that Jesus came to bring into the world.READ MORE
Advent is here! Let us prepare!
The empty manger: Make a simple manger to help young children participate in preparing their hearts for the gift of Jesus at Christmas. Every time someone in the family does something kind, they are preparing to welcome Baby Jesus. Each kind act or little sacrifice earns a piece of straw to put in the manger. Then, on Christmas morning, “Baby Jesus” is placed in the manger. Encourage your children to make Jesus’ bed as “comfortable” as possible by doing lots of good things! Remind them what a gift Jesus is to us.
Here are five more conversation starters for families gathered around the table, or traveling in the car together:READ MORE
“I’m never getting enough rest! How can I possibly be ‘asleep’?” In a world of jam-packed schedules and high anxiety levels, physical rest may be hard to come by. Yet relentless pursuit of our todo lists and social calendars may keep our minds off of the things that really matter. Jesus knows all too well a pattern of busy, harried ignorance. “In those days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage … they did not know until the flood came and carried them all away … two men will be out in the field … two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left.” When it comes to the spiritual life, we can be at work or at relaxation and still be spiritually asleep.READ MORE