Birth and Death

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

My mother died on Friday, December 13, 1991. Earlier in that week, my family reached me with news of her decline and I was able to arrive home from Ecuador to be with her in those early morning hours. Her death was not sudden; she had been on the journey since a serious stroke three years earlier.

As my sisters and brothers gathered in the days that followed, we shared wonderful memories of this remarkable and most loving woman. Of course, while we were preparing for Mom’s funeral, everything around us was wrapped in Christmas lights, decorations and cheer. While that may have appeared to make our grief more painful, it did not.

Preparing for celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ – and the power of the
promise of this infant king – opens for the Christian the deepest mystery of God’s love. In and through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord, through the ages and today, we joyfully proclaim: “In death life is changed, not ended”.

It is the story of life – each life an immeasurable gift, a unique work of art from the Creator, never meant to end, always destined for eternity. Living in this truth can transform our grief and sadness. Not changing it or making it go away, rather transforming it to accept our human frailty and look beyond it to the Author of life and the promise of life eternal.

Christmas 1991 was a peaceful and sweet time for my family. We remembered with deep love and gratitude as we celebrated the Birth of the Messiah, the font of all Love.

Christmas 2020, well maybe you and I need to do something similar. Painful
losses beyond measure have been part of everyone’s life as well as the life of our nation and world. The human frailty of our nation has been exposed like never before. Nonetheless, we look to Bethlehem and recall Immanuel – God is with us.

The hope we long for is not only from a vaccine but more so, from reembracing the infinite Love, discovered by the shepherds, sought by the kings, and here for us this day.

Fr. Ronan

Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 19/20, 2020

In today’s Gospel reading we have the story of the Annunciation, when the angel of the Lord announced to Mary that she would give birth to Christ through the intercession of the Holy Spirit.
Mary allowed God’s messenger to speak to her. She was attentive, not afraid to enter into a dialogue, then unconditionally obedient.
Mary’s acceptance of this mystery is a stewardship model for us.
Good stewards remain open to the incursions of divine life into
the normal course of their daily lives.
How open are we to the promptings of the Holy Spirit
in our own lives?
What might we do this last week of Advent to be more attentive to the
Lord?