Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our glory is to stand before the world as your own sons and daughters. May the simple beauty of Jesus' birth summon us always to love what is most deeply human, and to see your word made flesh reflected in those whose lives we touch.
Second Sunday after Christmas, Roman Rite
"Something Hardly Noticeable"
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him. - Isaiah 11:1-2
These words from last night's liturgy have stayed with me during the day. Our salvation comes from something small, tender, and vulnerable, something hardly noticeable. God, who is the Creator of the Universe, comes to us in smallness, weakness, and hiddenness.
I find this a hopeful message. Somehow, I keep expecting loud and impressive events to convince me and others of God's saving power; but over and over again I am reminded that spectacles, power plays, and big events are the ways of the world. Our temptation is to be distracted by them and made blind to the "shoot that shall sprout from the stump." When I have no eyes for the small signs of God's presence - the smile of a baby, the carefree play of children, the words of encouragement and gestures of love offered by friends - I will always remain tempted to despair.
The small child of Bethlehem, the unknown young man of Nazareth, the rejected preacher, the naked man on the cross, he asks for my full attention. The work of our salvation takes place in the midst of a world that continues to shout, scream, and overwhelm us with its claims and promises. But the promise is hidden in the shoot that sprouts from the stump, a shoot that hardly anyone notices.
- Henri Nouwen
Get to Know the Saints!
For young and old alike, part of the discussion at December Faith Formation centered on the saints. There is a link on our parish website to a "Saint of the Day" resource. The link can be found by clicking on the ECOMMUNITY tab -- it is in the lower right hand corner of that page.
Here are a few other good websites that have pages with information about sainthood and/or lives of the saints:
Saint Stories for All Ages by Loyola Press Saints Resource by RCL Benziger Saints on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops explains the canonization process and features a few saints
Share Meaningful Dinnertime Conversation this Holiday Season
One hears advice to avoid discussing religion and politics at the family dinner table, especially at extended family gatherings. If we can't talk honestly and openly with those we love most about the things that matter most, who can we talk with? Click here for an enlightening article, which includes some "ground rules" for fruitful political discussions among family and friends.