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January 1, 2017 - It is an Inside Job

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God

Scripture Readings

I must admit, Advent 2016 was a challenging Advent. Changes in the staff at both parishes, the literal doubling of my official responsibilities, my travel to India to visit my ailing father, the many funerals during Advent, all contributed to a rather restless Advent. You may not believe this, but, I eagerly looked forward to my 14 hour non-stop flight to get some alone and quiet time. I am not saying that advent and Christmas were not meaningful. I am simply saying that my soul was craving for something deeper. 

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December 25, 2016 - He Has Come!

The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)

Scripture Readings

Perhaps many of you know that recently I had a make a trip home to visit my ailing father. Altogether, I was home but for a week. It all ended well with my father showing extraordinary recovery within a matter of days. Most of you have since said to me that it was my presence that did it for him. Actually, my brother had come first. He saw my father home through his first hospitalization. By the time he was hospitalized the second time, I had decided to visit him. While I was there, I discovered that people in the neighborhood knew that I was coming. “Our son is coming!” they had told every visitor.  It was as if with my coming everything would miraculously be fine again. That is exactly how it played out. My father showed an almost miraculous recovery. While I cannot but acknowledge the work of the medical community, and while I cannot but be grateful to my God, I cannot deny that my brother and my presence made a big the difference. Presence is everything!

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December 18, 2016 - Turning the Ahaz in us to Joseph

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

We are a week away from Christmas and today’s scripture readings get as close to the events of Christmas. There is something special about the stories in these readings. As we read them, we realize that ordinary people were integral to the main plot. Somehow, their stories of these people converge with the story of the birth of Jesus. There are characters in these stories who are models for us and those that we do not want to imitate. I would like to approach today’s scriptures through the characters in the story of Jesus. 

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December 11, 2016 - From Fa la la to Joy

Third Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

Perhaps because I left the US before Thanksgiving and returned at the peak of what the corporate America calls the “holiday season,” the contrast between Advent and pre-Christmas frenzy hit me harder this year. When I landed at the Dayton airport, the very first song I heard over the speakers was, “Fa la la…” There was a rebellion within. I wanted to scream that is not time to fa la la yet! The demands of Advent are serious. It demands examination of conscience, repentance and conversion. However, the mood outside the church does not help us pursue the demands of Advent. It is easy for us to skip the demands of Advent altogether. 

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December 4, 2016 - Got Vision?

Second Sunday of Advent

Scripture Readings

Whether we formally call it a “vision” or not, each one of us has a vision. For example, when a couple gets married, they imagine life to go a certain way. They have a vision. When a child is born, parents imagine how they would like the child to grow up. They have a vision. When someone gets a new job, they imagine how the new role brings meaning and purpose to life. In very simple terms, a vision is how we think something should go long-term, and the effort we put to make it happen. Vision allows us to have a plan and then put our effort into making the vision a reality. Without a vision, we have nothing to look forward to. 

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