Archive for December, 2003

Happenings

December 31, 2003

Lots of things afoot here in Sioux Falls. The pastor is on vacation/retreat for about 3 weeks. He will be home one of the weekends to help out. Other than that I supposedly am in charge. It really is an illusion though so there won’t be any big decisions.

On Sunday January 11, I will be posting some news to the site. I need to wait until then though so keep tuned in. It is interesting.

Other than that my first Christmas as a priest went well. I am pretty tired and looking forward to relaxing a bit on new years day after the last Mass. With the Pastor gone and as many marriage preps as I have though it is going to be interesting.

Also it seems a lot of ladies got diamonds this Christmas so the phone calls are starting to roll in and the choosing of dates becomes interesting.

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Homily – Feast of the Holy Family

December 29, 2003

Homily – Feast of the Holy Family
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. All of our scripture readings reflect on aspects of family life including the duties and blessings that come about as a result of the faithful living of family life. Understanding what a family is supposed to be is critically important to understanding life with God. Father , Son and Holy Spirit are names that designate relationships. God expresses his relationship with us in terms of covenants which are family bonds. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became man, in order to save us from our sins and that we might become Children of God. It is critically important to understand what a family truly is and what God intends it to be in order to understand God in three persons and our relationship with him. If our image of the family is distorted then our image of God will be distorted. If our image of family relationships is distorted then our understanding of our relationship with God will be as well. This is one reason God gives us a model to look to in the Holy Family of Nazareth. Today we hold them up as an example to all Christians of what family life should look like and what we are called to in our relationships within our families and with God.
It is more important than ever that we look toward the Holy Family as a true model of family life to be imitated. In our current society the institution of the family is under attack. There are forces in the world constantly at work to destroy the traditional and biblical understanding of what it means to be family. These people would like to remake the family according to their image rather than Gods. You see it constantly in the attacks to redefine marriage as being something other than between a man and a woman and God. Marriage as an institution belongs to God and is only between a man and a woman and God. It is not a relationship or a word that the state has a right to redefine. You see the attack in permissive divorce legislation and such things as no fault divorces. Divorce happens and it’s no ones fault? People attempt to define marriage as a civil relationship that can be redefined or changed at the whim of either party instead of the life long covenant bond between God, man and wife. Marriage reflects the divine life of the Trinity and that is not one that changes but one that is steadfast, fruitful, and faithful. You see the attacks in the widespread use of contraception and current legislation that is attempting to force the Catholic Church to violate its teachings and cover the cost of contraception for its employees. Can you imagine a divine family that wasn’t open to new life? That was closed in on itself. A Father and a Son not open to a third person. A Mary and a Joseph without a Jesus. A God who didn’t have enough love for every child born into the world? Look at the word contraception itself. Contra means against, conception the beginning of new life. What kind of family would stand against the beginning of new life. Only one that was dead on the inside. There is even a movement now to legislate against parents teaching their children their religious faith because they think the children should be free to choose for themselves. In other words it would be illegal for you to teach your children about God. You think this is impossible? There are court cases right now in the system to do that.
All of these acts are a part of a larger plan to destroy the human family as revealed by God. Satan knows as well as we do the importance of the family and that is why he attacks it so ferociously. The family is the basic building block of society. It is where people are first taught about God. It is the first seminary. It is here that they learn the virtues espoused in our second reading: compassion, kindness, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. The parents are the first heralds of the Gospel to their children. They are the first and best educators of their children. All of these things are truths given to us by God in Church teaching. All of them are important to building the kingdom of God and bringing souls to heaven. Satan knows our teaching better than us and he uses it as a weapon against us. The battle has commenced and we are not even raising our hands to fight. Instead we stand there and are slaughtered like animals as our enemy has his way. The battle for the future of our culture, the Church and the Kingdom of God lies in the family and you husbands and wives are on the front lines.
The interesting thing about the battle is often times husbands and wives are too busy fighting each other that they don’t even see the enemy coming into to steal their children’s souls. Their relationship with each other becomes a model of relationships for their children and when the children are older they fight and rebel against their parents. A true husband and wife relationship is spoken of in our second reading. For many modern sensibilities that makes them cringe. How dare we say that one should be subordinate to another. One person can’t dominate another. They are equal. The last two sentences are true but they don’t apply to the true meaning of subordinate. Think of it in terms of the head and the body. A body can only have one head. If it has more than one it is a monster or a freak. Does that mean that the head dominates the body? Does it means it doesn’t care about the rest of the parts. Does it means that the other parts are not equal in dignity with the head. Would you like your body to do things other than what your brain tells it? But a body that didn’t listen to the head and go in the direction that the head guides it would be horrible prison to be in. The head is supposed to direct the body in ways that are good for the entire body. The care of the body is the responsibility of the head. In just the same way the care of the family is ultimately the responsibility of the husband who works together with his wife. He is to love his wife and honor her all the days of his life.
Look to the Holy Family for the model. Do you see dissension in their marriage? When God tells Joseph he needs to take his family to Egypt to protect them does Mary fight him? Does Joseph Dominate Mary and Jesus for his own pleasure or whims? Or is Joseph a man of prayer? Does he meditate and listen to the word of God? Does he make his decisions for the family based on his own personal opinion or God’s word and principals? Did Mary being subordinate to Joseph in any way shape or form maker her less of a person? In fact no one ever has been, is, or will be holier and in higher esteem than Mary. Does Jesus, the King of Kings, the all knowing divinity united to human flesh rebel against his parents? He knows more than them. He isn’t ever wrong. Does he ever disobey them? Not according to scripture, so children have no excuse either to be disobedient to their parents.
One day we will stand accountable before God for how we answered our vocational calls. Mothers and Fathers will be held responsible for how they raised their children. If God asks you why the enemy was able to steal your children’s souls, I can promise you it is not a good answer to say we were too busy fighting amongst ourselves. The only reasonable thing you can say is we did everything to teach our children the faith, to model holy lives for them, and build the good habits and virtues in them that would allow them to be good Christians, but they decided to leave anyway.
So practically how can you do this? Look to our first reading. Your children are gifts from God and everything you do should be directed to giving them back and dedicating them to God. This should be every Mother and Father’s #1 New Years resolution. You should sit down as a couple and plan for your families spiritual well being for the next year. Where are your strong points and where are your weak points? You should learn what the Church teaches on the family so that you know where you should be heading. How many of you are aware that Pope John Paul II wrote an entire letter to families? How many have read it? How many have left it unopened? How many have talked about how to implement it in their home? If you want a copy you need simply go to Hurley’s and ask to buy one.
You should take advantage of the tools the Church gives you: namely the sacraments. You must live a good sacramental life and set the example for your children. You must take your family to Mass together as a family every Sunday even when your on vacation. You must take them to confession together as a family. I would recommend at least 4 times a year. You should use sacramentals. How many families have holy water in their houses? How many rooms have crucifix’s in them? How many of you have made the 9 first Friday promises and dedicated your family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. If I walked into your home would I know you were Catholic? How many pray together as a family? How about the rosary? How many teach their children prayers or do we leave that to CCD? It is your responsibility and you cannot delegate it. How many of you pray to God that he will raise up vocations to the priesthood and religious life from your family? How many pilgrimages to holy places and shrines have you made like the Holy Family in the Gospel today?
I could go on and on. Not to admonish you, but to give you hope. There are thousands of ways the Church offers for you to grow together as a family and to imitate the Holy Family of Nazareth. You have thousands of weapons and the infinite power of God on your side if you choose to use it for the Battle. You need to sit down and decide a plan of action for yourselves and for your family. It is said that a failure to plan is a plan for failure. I guarantee that Satan has a plan for you and your family. I hope you have one to counteract him. I suggest starting with the Pope’s letter to families and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We would be happy to help you in any way we can but we can’t choose to do it for you. To have a holy family is a beautiful thing but it requires an active choice on your part. If you want to be a Holy family you must choose to live that way. The choice is yours. Your eternal salvation and that of your children depends on it. Choose well.

Christmas Eve Homily

December 24, 2003

I hope to have my Christmas Eve homily up today. I have to deliver it at 3:45 (I know, I know) so I hope to post it before then. Between now and then I have to write it. I have some things pinging around in my heart but hopefully I can get them on paper. I sure would hate to bomb on Jesus Birthday but heh the Little Drummer boy is my hero so I will just play him the song the best I can.

Homily – Christmas Eve

December 24, 2003

Homily – Christmas Eve Mass

Two thousand years ago a couple wandered from Inn to Inn in a small town looking for a place to give birth to a Son. They were in a foreign town and the night was late and she was close to term. The best they could find was a small cave or manger used to stable animals. It was here that Mary would give birth to her Son who would be the King of Kings. Not just any king but the God of the universe himself. He humbled himself to take on human flesh and then he chose the lowest place among them. He was born in a dark, damp and dirty stable and wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Why would he go through all of that? The answer lies in our Gospel today. “She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Jesus the Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, our Messiah, our Savior was born to be our Salvation.
Salvation is something we are all looking for. We want to be saved from a meaningless and wretched existence. People look for it in many places and seek their salvation through many things: sex, money, drugs, fame, power, relationships. All of the searches end ultimately in frustration because we are made for God alone. Our happiness can only be found in a relationship with God. He is the only one that can fill that hole in the deepest part of ourselves. Until that hole is filled with God then we will be incomplete, uneasy and not at peace. This is what prompted St. Augustine to confess to the Lord “My heart is restless until it rests in you.” If we choose to live without God in our lives then the best thing we can hope for is to keep ourselves distracted from the pain and restlessness. All these things: sex, money, drugs, etc are just that. They are distractions and not our salvation. As scripture says there is only one name under heaven and earth through which salvation comes and that name is Jesus the Christ: For he will save his people from their sins.
That is the Messiah that people were expecting for so long a period. They were watching and waiting for their salvation to come. When at last it did many missed it. Many denied that Christ was their savior. Why? Mostly because he wasn’t what they expected. What they were looking for and where they were looking were the wrong things and the wrong places. They were expecting a warrior king and a conquering hero. They were looking in royal palaces. They did not expect a poor boy born in a stable. They did not expect one who would be so humble and so little. They did not expect to see one who would speak of love of their enemies. They had other ideas and for that reason they missed him.
We too can miss him in our lives if we are not careful. We too could be looking for the wrong person, the wrong thing or in the wrong place. Our salvation comes to us in unexpected places and often times is overlooked. We are too busy, or don’t have time to see him. We don’t look into the little places in our lives. The damp, dark, plain and ordinary places. Often times people won’t look for him at all until they are in the deepest sorts of trouble. When their whole world comes crumbling around them then they cry out. They feel like God has abandoned them. No he is there, but you must know how to recognize him. If you are not practiced and have not developed the skill of seeing Jesus in your everyday life and situations then it will be very difficult to see him. But the blindness is ours not his. We must learn to see and to seek our salvation every day. We must let Christ into our lives, every day. Not just on holidays. Not just in our most desperate moments. Not just when we think we need him. We need him every day. He is there waiting. He wants to save us. He wants to be our salvation. He wants to shoulder our burdens. He wants to die for our sins. He wants to come into our lives if we would only let him.
We have clear proof in our first reading. We are God’s diadems and he delights in us. He will not quit on us or give up on us. He will not be quiet until our vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. God never quits on us, we just quit on him. God is faithful for all generations and all generation are important to him.
Do you have a hard time believing this? Do you have a hard time believing that God actually wants to use you as a part of his plan of salvation? Could you have really been made for a purpose? Then answer is clear in the Gospel. We hear the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Most people groan when they hear this part. Most will skip over it when they read the scriptures. God does not waste words though and these are the inspired word of God. What does it tell us. Every name we hear is proof of God’s promise even when we might have forgotten or might not see the importance. For at the end of this line of names is the birth of our savior. Every person in that line had a part to play. How many actually knew that they would be part of God’s plan in the world. How many were aware that their descendant would be the guardian and adopted Father of the Messiah. How many of Mary’s relatives knew that one of their descendants would be the Son of God.
God is present and working in all generations. We might not see him if we are only looking for Christmas. We need to look in our everyday lives. We need to find Christ in the humble places. Not the places of our choosing, but the places of his choosing. Not when we want, but when he wants. Not in the ways we want, but in the ways he wants. And he wants to save us from all those other things, but he can do so only if we open our hearts to him and let him.
If we do, then we also become an important part of salvation. We don’t settle for being just another name, in just another book. We accept our part in God’s divine plan and we live it. Not just one day a year but with our entire lives. And a life given to God is a life worth living. A life lived for ourselves isn’t a life at all.
I would like to encourage you that every time you see a nativity scene to look at the infant in the crib and remember that God loved us so much he would become a man to save us from our sins. He would be born in a manger because for many of us that is what our hearts are like: dirty, damp and dark. He would give himself to everyone and in the end be rejected by many and put to death. All this was known before hand and he still became man to save us from our sins. He can only do that if we let him be the lord of our lives. Not part of our life, but all of it. Not just one day a year, but every day of the year. Not just in some places of our life where it is convenient for us, but in all places of our life. Jesus is the Lord of all or not at all.
Everyone here today is here because in some way this is important to you. Maybe some are here only to keep peace in the family. If that is so then I hope you don’t leave that way. But for most of us it is because we acknowledge that Jesus was God and we should celebrate his birth.
God is God without our consent. He doesn’t need us to be God. Don’t just acknowledge the existence God in your lives but also let him be your savoir. Let him save you from your sins. You can only do that by allowing him into your life and your homes. Open wide the doors to the Inns of your hearts. Will he knock at the door of your heart and find the light of welcome burning brightly? Or will he find there is no room for him there. I hope that isn’t the case. Ultimately though I can’t decide for you. You must choose to have him as Lord or to look for him at your convenience. The choice is yours. Choose well.

May tonight your soul feel it’s worth

December 24, 2003

O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder beams a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night divine! O night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here came the wise men from the Orient land

The King of Kings lay in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend
He knows our need
To our weakness no stranger
Behold your King! before the lowly bend!
Behold your King! before Him bend!

Truly he taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus rise we
Let all within us praise His holy name
Christ is the Lord
Then ever, ever praise we
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim
His pow’r and glory ever more proclaim

Homily – 4th Sunday of Advent

December 21, 2003

Homily – 4th Sunday of Advent
For thousands of years the people of the Old Testament awaited the coming of the Messiah. Sometimes they became impatient at waiting and then they turned away from God to more immediate gratifications. One example is the time they awaited at the foot of Mt. Sinai for Moses to bring down the 10 commandments, the word of God, to his people. They waited but eventually turned to making idols and worshiping false gods. But God called them back to himself and renewed his covenant with them. Despite the countless infidelities of his people, God has always remained faithful; calling, waiting, seeking the lost.
Prophet after prophet rose up and called the people back. The shepherds went in search of the wandering flock. Some returned, some refused. It is amazing at times that God didn’t just give up. But God’s love is not fickle like ours. Patiently He calls for his Children to return home. He reminds his children that He is faithful to his promises and they will be fulfilled if we are willing to wait patiently for God to move. Not the least of his children are forgotten by God. For as it says in Matthew 18 “It is not his will that a single of these little ones be lost.” As our first reading says “from one too small to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth from me one who is to be ruler in Israel.” Good things do come in small packages and every single one of us is loved and intended by God.
For every single little one of us has a Divine purpose. From all eternity God willed that we should be and calls us to return to him. Every hair of your head has been counted and God has plans for your welfare and not for your woe. This is the value of every single person. Not a single one is unimportant no matter what people tell you, no matter what you believe yourself, no matter what the government says. You are loved by God and he wants you to return to him.
So our lives then become a time of Advent as well. We patiently await the coming of the Lord. The reason for which we exist is for Him to come but only if we wait patiently. If we, like the Israelites, become impatient and turn toward other gods then our true purpose might go unfilled for all eternity. That purpose is to know, love and serve God in this life and to spend all eternity with him in heaven. But if you have wandered far from the fold, if you are a lost sheep, fear not. The Lord is seeking the Lost. He is crying out for you to return to him. Heed his voice. Cry out to God to save you, surrender your life to him. As our first reading says “He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the Lord, and they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth; he shall be peace.”
For when the sheep cries out to be saved the Good Shepherd answers. He is faithful and nothing will stop him from reaching his sheep: Not time, not distance, Not the infinite distance between humanity and divinity. For God will become man, if he has to, to save his sheep from their sins. He will humble himself to be an infant, dependent on another, born poor in a stable with the animals. He will be hunted as a child by a vicious king. He will flee to a foreign land. He will return and tell them of the Good news. He will heal them, raise them from the dead and shepherd his flock, holding his lambs in his arms. He will be rejected by those he was sent to save and in the end he will go to a brutal and humiliating death to save his sheep from their sins. That is how great a love the Shepherd has for his sheep. That is what he is willing to do if his sheep will simply cry out to be saved. But they must cry out for he will not do so against our will. He will move heaven and earth to save us if only we will cry out.
That is why we have such great hope. And because our hope is in one who is always faithful and has never broken his promises, that is a cause for joy. Joy beyond all telling. Our every longing and desire, hope and dream will be fulfilled if we simply allow ourselves to be saved from our sin by the Shepherd.
This is what the people of God had waited for. This is the reason why the infant John leaped for joy in the womb. From before he was born, John, recognized the Messiah and leaped for joy. This is what causes Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, to cry out “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” She is stunned that the mother of the great shepherd would come to her. And what Joy Mary had at the new life within her. Not only her child but her Lord and her Salvation as well. Elizabeth says “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” God did speak his Word to Mary. It was done unto her according to his word. And His word was a living word. It is the Word. And the word became flesh an dwelt among us. Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and John all knew what this meant and they were filled with joy.
Advent is a time of Joy if we know what we are waiting for. It is a living rosary where each day we reflect on the Joyful Mysteries. Last Sunday the Annunciation, This Sunday the Visitation, Christmas Day the Nativity and before it’s over the other two. It is a time of waiting for the coming of the Lord but also a time of hope. Because that hope is in one who is ever faithful and all powerful it is the cause of our joy. Walk the joyful mysteries with the blessed mother through these days. Pray with the holy family the joyful mysteries in your own family. Discover the joy at the miraculous birth of Emmanuel; God is with us. The birth of Jesus who will save us from our sins.
This is what we are preparing to celebrate. The God of the universe loved us so much, he would humble himself to become man in order to save us from our sins. If only we cry out, our salvation is at hand. If only we answer as Mary did, then the Word of God can be conceived in our hearts and we too will leap for joy. “Be it done unto me according to your word”. That word is The Word. The Word is The Son of God made Man; our life, and our salvation. That is what we celebrate in a few short days. That is what awaits the sheep if simply we cry out “Be it done unto me according to your word.” It is not a terrible thing to surrender your will to joy. You might even find that it is what you have been looking for so long. Cry out the Good Shepherd and he will move heaven and earth to save you because you really are that important to him. And that Divine love, made man, to save us for our sins is what we await, what we hope for and what 2000 years ago was born into the world.

Tis the Season

December 19, 2003

To be really, really busy. I am hoping to get more done soon and post a bit. Christmas day will give me a few hours after the last Mass.

The Passion of The Christ (Part 4)

December 17, 2003

The Holy Father has come out with a statement as Peggy Noonan writes. BTW I think she is spectacular.

It reminds me of a story I heard in the Holy land about when Paul VI made a tour to the place where they speculate Jesus made breakfast for his disciples after the resurrection.

They say he approached the rock, layed down and embraced it and prayed for a few minutes. Occasional a deep groan of contemplation would escape his lips. After he was done he stood up and pronounced “This is the place.”

I personally think there is more to the Holy Father’s statement than mere opinion. I love the fact that it is so profoundly metaphysical as well. It is as it was. That has beautiful ramifications for the representation of the sacrifice of Calvary on our altars ever week.

JPII we love you.

December 14, 2003

Homily – 3rd Sunday of Advent
The Holiday Season is often a time of stress and sometimes depression for a lot of people. You often hear of increased bouts of depression and suicide around the holidays. For some people, Joy to the world, is something for others and not to be found by them. Bah Humbug I have even heard it said.
This stands in stark contrast to our readings today. Christmas time is a time of great joy for Christians. Paul says it quite clearly in our second reading today. “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” It seems an odd thing for a man to write who is in prison and on the way to execution to see so much cause for joy. What is the secret for Paul. What is it that causes him, in the face of prison and possible death to see joy when others in the face of the holidays are depressed? I think the key to understanding the difference between the two outlooks lies two sentences further on. Paul says “The Lord is near.” For St. Paul, his nearness to Christ is what brings him his joy. He tells other Christians it should be their joy as well. The nearness of Christ to our hearts is the deciding factor upon whether we look on our life with joy or with gloom.
Unfortunately for many people Christmas is about the things we have or the things we hope to get. You see this truth classically portrayed in many movies and stories like A Christmas Carol. “Bah Humbug”, says Scrooge. When lives become about possessions or about what we can acquire then the become turned in upon themselves. They don’t look outward to others but seek to draw things inward to themselves. The focus becomes inside the person and they turn in upon themselves to satisfy their desires. This is not a human life. A fully human life is one that is turned outward toward others and toward God. It is oriented toward community and others rather than self. St. Therese of Lisieux compared herself to a little flower and I think that analogy for the soul is a good one here. A flower turned in upon itself is wilted and dead. A flower turned outwards toward others and the Son is living, vibrant and in bloom. In the same way a soul turned in upon itself is dying, dead or in a state of decay. A living, vibrant and healthy soul is turned outwards toward God and others.
That is why St. Paul can so easily tell us: “Brothers and sisters: Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” For St. Paul his joy is Jesus Christ. He carries that joy within him wherever he goes. His situation or the things he have cannot shake the foundations of his joy which is Jesus Christ. If we too want the same, unshakeable joy that he has then we must build upon the same foundation which is Jesus Christ.
The key to happiness or unhappiness lies in our relationship with the Lord. The only thing that will make us truly happy is God. If our relationship is good then we are joyful. If it is bad then the joy we experience in life is fleeting at best and in most cases not true joy. The things we seek in the world other than God are not the keys to our happiness. Some might say: “If I just had this …then I would be happy”. Others” If she would only do this or if he would only love me… then I would be happy..” Others if only this would happen to me… then I would be happy”. All of these things cannot bring us true happiness. The temporary pleasure they might bring us is really only a brief distraction from a meaningless and solitary interior life and relationship with God.
The sparkle will soon fade and then we will have to look for the next thing…that if only we had, will make us happy.
Things or people cannot bring us lasting happiness because they are breakable, they can be lost, they can change. Only the unbreakable, the unshakeable and the unchangeable God can bring us the joy we seek. Only in God can we find the firm foundation that brings us the joy we all hope for.
So how do we get there? John the Baptist shows us how to prepare for the Lord. We prepare by repenting of our past ways. We prepare by being generous and just with our neighbors. We prepare by giving away things we don’t need to others that do. Joy and happiness don’t come from what you get but rather from what you give.
The Pope in the last few weeks has been speaking publically about the link between depression and materialism. How many cases have we seen of people who supposedly had it all: money, fame, fortune, who ended up committing suicide or dying of drug overdoses. Those are not the way people who are truly happy die. The only way to true happiness is to prepare your heart to receive the Lord. Then and only then can you have the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding” that “will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
I urge you again to make Advent a time of true preparation to receive Christ in your heart. Welcome him as King at Christmas. Let your gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh be gifts of faith hope and love. Prepare your heart to receive your king by cleaning out the stable through the sacrament of confession. If it has been years then get there soon. Tuesday night we have a large penance service here. Don’t wait because it might be too late. I leave you with one example.
I spoke with a police officer on the phone this week and he told me a story. He said that my homily about not waiting to go to confession because you might not make it to the end of Advent was true. He told me that he had almost died a few nights before while directing traffic. A woman pulled up at a traffic stop and she was clearly drunk. She was about to run over another officer so he had to reach into her car to turn off her car because it was the only way he could save the other officer. She threw it into gear and ended up dragging him down the highway for quite a ways. He pulled out his gun and when she saw it she hit the breaks and it freed his arm and he fell to the ground. He told me all he could think about was the need to go to confession and how he shouldn’t have waited so long. So he assured me that he was going to go before Christmas Eve. My response to him was simply this. “Don’t wait. You might not make it to Christmas Eve.” He said “Your going to jinx me.” I said no, the Devil is trying to do that. Jesus is trying to save you. I think you should let him.
My response is the same to you. I want you to be happy and go to heaven. There is only one way to do that. Get right with Jesus Christ. Let him be the Lord of your life, and please don’t wait to do it.

Christmas at the Cathedral

December 12, 2003

Well I am going to the Christmas at the Cathedral concert tonight. I am really looking forward to it. I bought the Cd from past years and it is great. The South Dakota Symphony comes and plays with their Chamber Orchestra and a couple of choirs from around the diocese combine as well. I am looking forward to seeing it live. I will be taking my mom and her new husband as a wedding gift for them.

I really am having an increasing love for the ARTS. I am learning more about Classical Music, I attended my first opera (which I loved), and am going to be going to some plays and the symphony.

If I wasn’t such a big fan of the Great Books education method and its call for the liberal arts I might be afraid I was getting snobbish. I am sure some of my friends (the more redneck type) might find my increasing love of the arts a little humorous.

Anyway, a spiritual director said I seemed to be quite willing to receive from God through beauty and I should place myself in front of it. I have been doing that and it is pretty great.

If you would like to consider purchasing a Christmas At the Cathedral CD then I recommend it. You can find it at our Diocesen website. Not only will you get some great music at a very reasonable price but you also will help support the restoration of our Cathedral to it’s former glory. Unfortunately it too was whitewased in those turbulent times but my Bishop is rocking the house and getting it fixed back up.