Saturday, December 17, 2011

Of Her Was Born Jesus

December 17, 2011

Saturday of the third Week of Advent

Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Matthew 1:15-16


Father, help us to become part of an Advent Conspiracy -- a people marked by a commitment to spend less, give more and worship fully especially for the next seven days. With this preparation, we can be better prepared to kneel before Jesus the God-child who comes into the world. Holy Spirit, provide us the gifts to assure we can make this season the easiest time to worship freed from the web of consumption and busy-ness so we can embark on our journey into the silent night to welcome Jesus into our midst. Amen.



Apostolic succession. The mantle of the original 12 disciples has been literally handed down from one generation to the next. What started with Jesus was passed on to the twelve and the witness of those twelve have been passed down through 2,011 years of salvation and human history. Today's Good News gives us a further glimpse backwards into the ancestry of Jesus that became the root of this forward payment.

While in a purely technical sense, apostolic succession refers to the line of church authority that rests with the bishops, we in the laity also have a role in carrying out the work that was entrusted to the disciples. Don't let the lack of a mitre and crosier in your closet fool you into thinking you are here only to enjoy Capitol One Bowl week of the coming of the NBA season. The giving and helping work we do this season, this year and into the future is a responsibility handed down to us from this line of witnesses and all those who have come before us -- grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers.

Last night, more than 100 people gathered at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC to celebrate its 30th anniversary. Founded in 1981 by Jesuit Fr. Richard McSorley and a small band of Catholic lay workers, the house has been a modern witness to Christ's message of love above all else and a model of humility and service to the people of the city. It provides food, housing, clothing, and respite to those without in the spirit of Christ's mission in Nazareth that we heard in the Gospel for the third Sunday of Advent in Isaiah 61:1-3. In addition, the many people who live there now and who have lived there throughout these three decades have witnessed the Good News of love in the midst of the power and money that define the battles of Washington and society today.

Reflecting on the readings for Friday, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton told the standing- room-only crowd that Jesus taught us how to live working every day to heal and build the Kingdom of the Father even if it meant getting the Pharisees a little upset when he worked on the Sabbath. Not only that, Bishop Gumbleton told us that Jesus also taught us how to die -- not how to kill. With no place to rest his head when he live on earth, Bishop Gumbleton reminded us that Jesus rested his head on the cross and forgave the members of his church and his society who condemned and tortured him to death. He taught us to die with love and not to kill with weapons.


All around us is the evidence that this society has taken on its mission to serve God and love each other just like the Catholic Workers. We can become even more a society of go-givers this season and always -- not just a society of go-getters.

For the first time since I have been volunteering with the Dorothy Day House, my sister and brother parishioners provided so many gifts that it took two car loads to transport them all to the house. They truly are go givers! Thank you!

For all you do this year and always, thank you for responding to the biblical call "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

Whom else can you thank this season for their humble service?