This weekend is the feast of the Holy Family and I would like to shine a spotlight on Joseph. We hear a lot about Mary during these days. I think that is good, but sometimes we need to reflect on Joseph’s role as well. As a man of faith, I believe I have a great responsibility in my family at home and in the wider family of God. Meditating on Joseph and what he models helps me be a better man of faith. Some of these thoughts come from a recent homily by Pope Francis.
Joseph was a perfect model of silent strength and faith. Imagine his initial reaction of doubt and worry when he learned Mary was pregnant. This can teach us something when we have difficulties or are feeling down. While Joseph did not understand, he believed when the Lord sent an angel in a dream to explain how the child had been conceived through the Holy Spirit. You can just about picture the internal struggle he must have had. When God told him to ‘get up,’ it is as if God is sending Joseph on a mission. When I am feeling sorry for myself, I have felt God telling me to ‘get up.’ I have a mission as a father, husband, deacon, etc., and that mission is strengthened by God’s grace. In a sense, God is giving Joseph a mission to take charge and be a steward of the gift of Mary and Jesus. He took a mission of fatherhood that was not his own—it came from God. All I have been given comes from God and I need to treat those blessings accordingly.
Joseph accepted fatherhood and all that signified by supporting Mary and Jesus, teaching Jesus his trade, and bringing him up to manhood. He accepted that role without much being recorded about him. Joseph is a man of silent obedience. I need to take a lesson. If the man Jesus learned to say “father” (or “daddy”) to the father he knew was God, he learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph—the man who took care of him, the man who raised him, the man who took nothing for himself. My mission, then, as a man of faith is to respond with selflessness to the call of God in my own set of circumstances. Sometimes I may not understand the plan that God seems to be laying out, but like Joseph, I embrace it and trust that God’s will be done. Joseph is a man with resolve to follow this plan and take on the leadership of the Holy Family. Not with absolute control, but with a certain sense of humility and courage. I have a lot to learn from this silent man of the Scriptures.
~ Dcn Wayne Talbot
This is a strange year for the Liturgical Calendar. Christmas falls on a Monday, so Christmas Eve is on Sunday. That means that Sunday morning, December 24, we celebrate the Fourth Sunday of Advent with our usual Masses at 8:30 and 10:30. That same day, we celebrate Christmas Vigil Masses at 4:00 and 6:30 p.m. and Midnight Mass at 11:00 p.m. It will be a full day! On Monday, the Mass of Christmas Day will be celebrated at 9:00 a.m. I know it will be tempting to skip the morning Mass on December 24, but I encourage you to celebrate the Liturgical Year in all its fullness. The readings and liturgical prayers for the Fourth Sunday of Advent are important to set up the full joy of Christmas. We should see this day not as a burden, but as an opportunity to spend a really holy day with the Lord, whose Paschal Mystery begins with the Incarnation. The long-expected Messiah finally came into the world to announce the Good News that God was intending to redeem the world.
January 1 is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It is ordinarily a holy day of obligation. This year, however, it is not obligatory because it falls on a Monday. It is still a holy day. Those who can are encouraged to come to Mass to celebrate this solemnity. Masses will be on December 31 at 5:30 p.m. and January 1 at 9:00 a.m. (5:30 Mass Goers: Please note that the 5:30 Mass on December 31 will be for the Solemnity of Mary and not for Sunday’s obligation for the Holy Family.)
~ Fr. Frank Coady
Advent…A new beginning; a fresh start; carte blanche.
We sometimes take for granted how many chances we get to start over. We get another day, another game, another assignment, another project, another encounter, another experience, another season, another chance.
Whenever the high schoolers and I embark on a trip, I remind them that it is a chance to reinvent themselves. If they are normally shy, they don’t have to be shy on this trip. If they are normally talkative, they don’t have to be talkative on this trip. If they are normally anxious and afraid, they don’t have to be anxious and afraid on this trip.
Jesus showed us the ULTIMATE do-over through the Paschal Mystery of his life, death, and resurrection. “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). We can all reinvent ourselves through Christ and with Christ and in Christ at any time, in every way. The thing that usually holds us back is fear.
BE NOT AFRAID!
~ Rick Smith, Youth Minister
As you probably already know, I was recently elected by the Diocesan Board of Consulters to be the Diocesan Administrator. The Administrator, in the absence of a bishop, runs the diocese. It is a temporary position which dissolves as soon as a new bishop is ordained and installed. Hopefully, that will be sometime next spring or summer.
Administrators have most of the powers of a bishop, except that they cannot ordain and they cannot establish new policies or directions for the diocese. The Administrator’s job is primarily to keep the diocese running smoothly until a new bishop can be installed.
This will involve a considerable amount of time and focus, but it is important for you to know that I will not be moving to Salina or leaving St. Thomas More Parish. I may not be as available as before, but I will try to make sure that it affects you as little as possible. One thing that makes this possible is the wonderful parish staff that we have here at St. Thomas More. They have generously committed themselves to picking up the slack.
The Diocesan Board of Consulters has promised to share the load with me as well. I am surrounded by good and faithful people. The Church functions smoothly and spiritual needs are fulfilled when everyone pulls together. We are one body, and we accomplish all in Christ and through him.
Many of you have offered to pray for me, and I deeply appreciate that. Be assured of my prayers for you as well.
~ Fr. Frank Coady