St. Edward Parish, Newark: December 2004 Archives

Busy Week

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It is so much fun being back in a parish. Task today, put out the shepherds in the creche, and finish my Christmas Homily in Spanish.

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After two days, the Blessed Sacrament locked up in the sacristy, the destroyed lock on the tabernacle was replaced. Tuesday Morning at 9:00am Mass, we blessed the Tabernacle, did an act of reparation and placed the Blessed Sacrament inside again. A new latch was placed on the sacristy window.
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What a Day!!

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Too much sadness in my life at the moment.

Entered the church this morning to discover that the tabernacle had been vandalized.

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Third Sunday of Advent


As the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Isaiah that he might announce good tidings to the poor and oppressed, so we hear Mary proclaim that God who lifts up the lowly has looked upon her in her lowliness. As the desert cries of Isaiah and John the Baptist announced the coming of the Lord, so the roses blooming in the arid soil of Tepeyac symbolized the blossoming of Christianity in the Americas. Our Lady of Guadalupe claimed justice for the people of Tepeyac, raising up those who were oppressed. Thus she is a "mantle of justice" for all who are oppressed. Do we not hear her say to us, "Is it not I, your mother, who is here? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?" "¿No soy yo, su madre, que estoy aquí? ¿No están, ustedes, afortunadamente, bajo mi cuidado?"

There was once one who was greater than a prophet. It was said that among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Sitting in his prison, his head in his hands, John spoke to God: "I have been taken out of the wilderness, and am bound by these chains and I cannot move, all words have failed me. All I can do is ask the question, `Are you the one who is to come or are we to await another?’" For all who have ever known disappointment and loss, this mother has provided an answer.

All John’s expectations were failing him. He heard that the story was changing and that was a great disappointment to him. God's power was something he had hoped for and depended on all his life. He had preached with all his might the coming of the wrath of God. He thought he saw the picture perfectly. God's winnowing fan is in his hand ready to clear the threshing floor and gather crop into the kingdom; but the refuse he will burn with unquenchable fire. He had given up everything. He wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. He had left everything, and come to this place in the wilderness to wait for the promised one.

But the one whom he had baptized, the one for whom the heavens opened, the one who heard God's voice, had now become very different. Rather than taking his place in the wilderness He was going around eating and drinking at the homes of Pharisees and sinners, and they were saying, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. Rather than gathering a select band of chosen disciples in a community in the wilderness, he had gathered around him a strange mixture of fishermen, artisans, and tax collectors and zealot party members. He even associated with women and counted some as his friends.

Rather than condemning sinners, he would gather them together, feed them, and call them "blessed." He would tell them to "rejoice," say that they were the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world." Where was the wrath? When was he going to wield the winnowing fan? When was the wheat going to be separated from the chaff? When was he going to call down unquenchable fire? Is this the one who is to come or are we to look for another?

Jesus answers slowly, and not even very directly. There is no wrath, no threshing floor, no winnowing fan. Wheat is still mixed up with chaff. And all he says is "trust what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. No trumpets, no angels coming on the clouds, just words from the vision of the prophet Isaiah. No wrath, no winnowing fan, wheat is still mixed with chaff, and light still mingles with the darkness.

Hope, Peace, community, justice, forgiveness and oneness of heart will come about because of a God who can do what is impossible — raise the dead to life — will also raise us up. My hope is no longer in myself, or in my hopes, dreams or expectations. My hope is in the Christ whom we put on as a garment of salvation.

The first light of this gift of Jesus is still only coming into view, and so with John, the one who is more than a prophet but who now takes his place with all the little ones in the reign of God, we leave the prisons we have built with our expectations and enter again the wilderness of this Advent.

With the prophets of old, those who came before John, and now those who come after, the prophets of this time and place, the prophets of hope who fill these pews, we see what threatens us, we too need to intercede to heaven, We gather again in this wilderness knowing that the world still waits for the body of Christ to be revealed. We gather with songs in the darkness, and light a wreath proclaiming the unending light. We pray that the light will come to full glory in the darkness of Easter night. We move again in reverence around this table and pray again the words that our Savior taught us.

As the desert vision of Isaiah set our hopes afire and John the Baptist struggles in darkness, we too bring our hopes and dreams, our doubts and expectations to witness the roses blooming in the arid soil of Tepeyac and even in the doubts and darkness of our own lives. Our Lady of Guadalupe claimed justice for the people of Tepeyac, raising up those who were oppressed. Thus she is a "mantle of justice" for all who are oppressed. "Is it not I, your mother, who is here? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?" O Madre de Dios, ruega por nosotros.

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Sad duty

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...sitting here by the fire, puppy at my side, trying to think of words for a funeral tomorrow, a 14 year old boy who committed suicide. sigh.....

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  one of Fr. Keyes' photos

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the St. Edward Parish, Newark category from December 2004.

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