Pastor's Corner 123012

posted Dec 27, 2012, 12:26 PM by Music Director

         Merry Christmas, everyone!  On behalf of our entire parish staff, I’d like to wish you all the blessings of this wondrous season…and it IS a season!  Unfortunately, the commercialization of Christmas has so blurred our understanding that many count the weeks of the season beginning with the day after Thanksgiving (or earlier, depending on the store!) and ending on Christmas Day.  

         Wrong, wrong, WRONG!!  We know that time of year as Advent.  The Christmas season begins on Christmas Eve and concludes with the Feast of the Lord’s Baptism, including the proverbial “12 days of Christmas” that stretch from Christmas Day to the Feast of the Epiphany.   In between are the feasts of the Holy Family andMary, Mother of God (which coincides with New Year’s Eve/Day).  For this reason I get somewhat annoyed when I see Christmas trees discarded and decorations removed the day after Christmas; why I am not bothered at all by “late” Christmas cards or gifts; and pleasantly delighted by those who rather than try to cram in a party beforeChristmas host one during the season.

            On the Sunday after Christmas we honor the Holy Family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.  We celebrate our union with them, and look to them as our model of ideal family life. 

            We begin the new calendar year by honoring the Motherhood of Mary, through whom salvation entered the world.  This feast is usually a holy day of obligatory Mass attendance except when it falls on a Saturday or a Monday.   January 1 was also declared “World Day of Prayer for Peace” in the 1960’s by Pope Paul VI.  Thus, we start off the New Year by sharing in the Eucharist which proclaims our oneness with Jesus, who came into the world through His Mother Mary; and celebrate our unity with one another, praying through the intercession of the Mother of the Prince of Peace that such unity will lead to world peace.

            The following Sunday is the celebration of Our Lord’s Epiphany, or revelation, to the Gentile world, represented by the travelers from the East who observed the star announcing the birth of a new king and came to pay Him homage.  Their gifts are not only generous but prophetic:  gold, a gift fit for a king; frankincense, traditionally burned throughout the Orient as an offering to a god; and myrrh, a fragrant and very expensive ointment used to embalm the dead.  The traditional date of this feast is January 6 (the “12th day of Christmas”), but it was moved to the Sunday after January 1 to make it easier for more people to celebrate it in the Eucharist.  Because of the universal nature of this feast, there is a long-standing tradition in the Church of announcing the dates of major feasts of the year on this day, as well as the blessing and distribution of calendars.

            The Christmas Season concludes (and Ordinary Time begins!) by celebrating the Baptism of Jesus by John and the inauguration of what Jesus was born to do:  announce the Good News of salvation and the establishment of the reign of God. 

            Let us continue to demonstrate our faith by utilizing the symbols and celebrating the feasts of the entire season of Christmas, and so reflect to the world our joy in Him who came to save us all!

 

In His Love,

Fr. Mike

 

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