What’s on your tree?

As a kid I remember the anticipation and impatience of waiting for the adults to decide it was time for the Christmas tree. The impatience quickly turned to excitement as we went in search of the perfect tree. We always had real Christmas trees. Often, over the years, we had…

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Madonna and child

In the lectionary, the Church’s schedule of Sunday readings, the Gospel for the Christmas Mass at Dawn and the one for today are the same — the shepherds arriving at the manger. But today one extra verse is added — Luke 2:21. It tells about Jesus receiving his name —…

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Joy to the World

In our newspaper recently was an article that mentioned that the feast of Christmas and the feast of Hanukkah coincide this year. The first day of Hanukkah begins at sundown on December 24. Hanukkah celebrates that a small band of Jews, led by Judah Maccabees, defeated a much larger army…

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Small but mighty

This morning as I was getting creamer for my coffee, I was confronted with the overwhelmingly pungent odor of garlic. This aroma was coming from deep inside the meat drawer of the refrigerator. The culprit? The garlic Bologna purchased yesterday at the grocery. I love garlic but I know a…

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We are family

Once, at this time of year, a group of young kids from a housing project was visiting with me. I asked them what their Christmas was going to be like, and then I asked them a follow-up question: why do we have Christmas? None of their families were churched, and…

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Advent in Chicago

Recently, I found myself in Chicago. December and the arctic winds have once again found their way to this part of the world. It’s the Season of Advent, the season that struggles to make an appearance since the Season of Christmas is clearly in the air! Our consumer culture draws…

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Open hands

Somewhere in my spiritual meandering I read or heard about praying with open hands; I’ve used this image ever since, especially during the Our Father of the Mass. It goes something like this: I open my hands. In my hands I place all my treasures: the people I love, my…

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Yes I will

The approaching birth of a child is the theme of the Gospel of the fourth Sunday of Advent. But Matthew does not tell about the pregnancy from Mary’s perspective, like Luke does, but from Joseph’s! God is an equal opportunity challenger! Joseph has to make a profound act of trust…

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Welcome the stranger

Today, and always, may all Christians live the Gospel message: welcome the stranger, take in the orphaned, tend to the widow, speak to the marginalized, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless … honor the God who dwells in each individual that we meet on our journey. May we touch each…

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Rush Hour in Guatemala

The other day I was driving home right at the beginning of rush hour, having visited a friend in the hospital. Most of the hour it took to get home was spent waiting in traffic. It could have been a competitive, angry mess of human frustration. It wasn’t though. Drivers…

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