Steve’s Columns

Epiphany of the Lord – 6 January 2019

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines (Is 60:1-2) The word epiphany means “appearance” or “manifestation”, specifically an appearance or manifestation of the divine – a glorious revelation occurring in world history. Still an epiphany is not for everyone to see. When an epiphany does occur there are only certain people chosen to perceive it. Epiphanies are especially given to those whose hearts are ready for religious wonder: the pious Jewish shepherds of …

The Holy Family – 30 December 2018

“Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. (Lk 2:48-50) There are solid families, broken families, dysfunctional families, and caring families, and some families that have been over time all of the above. Yet, how many families do you know that are holy families. Rather, how many families do you know that make it their …

4th Sunday in Advent – 23 December 2018

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. (Lk 2:15-16) There are few images more endearing to the Christian faith than the scene known as the Adoration of the Shepherds. It is a scene perhaps less noble yet more charming than the Adoration of the Magi. While the kings travelled many miles in caravan from …

3rd Sunday in Advent – 16 December 2018

“Sing joyfully, O Israel! Be glad and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! The LORD has removed the judgment against you, he has turned away your enemies; the King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst…” (Zep 3:14-15) Angels appear often in sacred scripture. The term “angel” in Greek means “messenger” and angels have been, since the creation of man, the great messengers of God. The angels are also the great proclaimers of God’s glory in heaven. Interestingly, there is a not-too-serious debate among some Bible buffs as to whether or not angels actually sing. Those who …

2nd Sunday in Advent – 9 December 2018

Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever… For God will show all the earth your splendor: you will be named by God forever the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship. (Bar 5:1,3-4) The observance of Advent has a penitential aspect. This aspect is not as pronounced as in Lent when penitence is palpable in its sorrowful expression of Christ’s Passion. In Advent we liturgically mourn over what had been lost. In a properly and spiritually dramatic fashion we attempt to pray like those faithful Jews who suffered …

1st Sunday in Advent – 2 December 2018

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars… And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk 21:25; 27-28) Those who pray the Rosary each day are blessed at least twice per week to meditate on that miraculous event known as The Ascension (if they follow the regimen of St. John Paul II and pray the Glorious Mysteries on Sundays and Wednesdays). Meditation is necessary since when we …

Solemnity of Christ the King – 25 November 2018

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world”… So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”  (Jn 18:36-37) Kingship was granted to man when God uttered these words to him, “… fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth” (Gn 1:28). Some would say that this command of God granted …

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 18 November 2018

“And then they will see ‘the Son of Man’ coming in the clouds… then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the end of the earth to the end of the sky”. (Mk 13:26-27) Advent (only two weeks away) is not only a season of preparation for the arrival of Christmas; it is another annual opportunity to receive the kingdom of heaven as a child (Mt 18:3). We say “another” because how many Advents have passed us by without any burst of youthful, animated expectation. To understand Advent one must understand the …

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – 11 November 2018

“Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had…” (Mk 12:43-44) Jesus instructs us in today’s Gospel reading that our church offerings are to be a sacrifice. He gives us the example of the poor widow who makes an offering to the temple not out of her “surplus” but from what little she has to manage her own domestic affairs. This does not mean that the widow gave to the temple, …

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – 4 November 2018

Moses spoke to the people, saying: “Fear the LORD, your God, and keep, throughout the days of your lives, all his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you, and thus have long life… and prosper the more.” (Dt 6:2-3) For the ancient Israelites, as with most ancient nations, material prosperity was believed to be directly related to divine favor. Many pagan nations known to Israel created their pantheon of gods based on their physical and societal needs (e.g. fertility, agriculture, war, etc.). Is it any wonder then that the One True God reached out to Israel with a promise …