February 24, 2014

To Be Holy is to Love

February 23, 2014                                                                                                                  M. Rebecca
Lev 19:1-2, 17-18; 1 Cor 3:16-23;Mt 5:38-48 
            Today’s readings are calling us to seek holiness.  “Be holy, for I the Lord your God, am holy”.  Since Vatican II, the Church has repeatedly spoken of this “universal call to holiness”.  However, “to be holy” is not one of the top 10 ways I would personally use to describe my call or my desire.  A call to love, a call to be like Christ, a call to make known God’s love to others…yes!...but a call to be holy leaves me a little uncomfortable. I remember sending a spiritual book to a friend.  It was called “Holiness” by Donald Nichols.   When she opened the package in front of her friend, she saw the title “Holiness” and quickly stuffed it back in the envelope so her friend wouldn’t see it.  How did this desire for holiness become embarrassing?  How does one even decide when or if a person is holy?  What does it mean to be holy?

February 16, 2014

It's all in the choosing!

                                                                                                                                                      M. Rebecca      

Sirach 15:15-20; 1Cor 2:6-10; Mt 5: 17-37
            Today’s readings, among other things, are about choices.  The Book of Sirach reminds us that everyone must make choices in their lives whether they are rich or poor, free or imprisoned, healthy or bed-ridden.   It is true that some people have less options than others due to circumstances, but we all have choices we must make – if not exterior, interior ones.   We choose to do good or evil, to love or to hate…in other words, as Sirach says so bluntly, to choose life or death.  Choice is a constant, daily component of life, yet how often we make them unconsciously - w/o thinking.  Yet even the smallest decisions are so important and guide us to life or death.   A cup of water given in Jesus’ name is a choice…just as…not to notice a person is thirsty is a choice as well!   It is essential to remember that we can choose to be mindful and choose to move outside of our self, no matter what our feelings or circumstances may be.  We have thousands of choices in a day – most unrecognized because we are busy, broken, or bored.  However, if we wait for the big discernments alone, we will probably be too sleepy to choose with clarity or charity.

February 7, 2014

Feast of the Presentation

We look back at the feast of Christmas and focus on the meaning of today's feast of the presentation.  It is a feast full of meaning and mystery.  We also look ahead to the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Christ comes to illumine souls.  We respond by living our lives in selfless love.
                                                                                                                                                          M. Rebecca Stramoski

Mal 3:1-4; Heb 2:14-18; Lk 2:22-32
            Forty days ago we opened our Christmas Season with the turning on of our Christmas tree lights. However, before electricity each Christmas tree branch held candles.    So initially and traditionally, Christians called the Nativity “the Feast of Lights” in honor of Him who was born as the Light to the Nations.  The Christmas tree with its many candles represented Christ our Light coming into the world.  This morning each of us will receive and hold a candle that represents Christ our Light, this time coming into our hearts.  Prior to Vatican II, the Church officially closed the Season with the Feast of the Presentation.  So we see that the Christmas Season began and ended with the celebration of divine light.
            However, throughout history this feast has had so many titles that it is hard to know what exactly we are celebrating.  The Eastern Church has always celebrated it as the Presentation of the Lord.  But they also call it “the Feast of the Encounter” or “the Meeting of our Lord”.  The West has celebrated it as the feast of the Purification of Mary.  But we also call it”Candlemas”.  So which is it: Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple? Mary’s purification? Simeon and Anna and all humanity’s encounter with God? Or the Light for the Nations in candle bearing?  Rather than reflecting confusion, I think it reveals how full this mystery is!