Happy New Year! Wow, another year come and gone! It seems it blew by. My prayer is that each and every one of us has a very blessed new year. A year filled with good health, peace and happiness; a tall order for sure, but not impossible with prayer and faith. I did enjoy seeing all the new faces during the Christmas Masses, I pray that we will continue to see those faces on a regular basis; um…we are one holy family lol! So what makes us a HOLY family? If you answered baptism, can I get a woo woo!! That’s right! Baptism is what unites us as a family in the Church. Mary, our mother, symbolizes the new Eve, and it is fitting starting off the New Year by honoring her. I mean, could you even imagine what would’ve happened if she had not said, “yes”? It also slows things down a bit by praying along with her for the things a mother longs for for her children, health, peace, wisdom, and reunion with God our father.
There’s a whole lot going on with the Epiphany than meets the eye. The Magi represent us as Gentiles. The gifts they bear are not only expensive but represent different aspects of what the Christ child will mean: Gold, royalty, kingship…frankincense, anointed, Godliness…myrrh, burial perfume signifying that he will die. It’s a simple story, but if you blink you’ll miss everything in it. There’s obedience, joy, intrigue, and deception. Satan is already in full swing through Herod and has control, hence the deception of Herod to the Magi. Notice that Mary is in the middle of all this…and she should be. She’s there from the very beginning, and she’s there at the very end. In the beginning as a mom, and in the end as a mom and a disciple. We may not have much to give the king, but we do have our hearts…we could at least give that.
Until next time… have a healthy, and peaceful New Year. Love ya! - Deacon Phil
Christmas is not just a day, but an entire season. It’s celebrated all the way up to the Epiphany. No, it doesn’t mean Christmas gifts every day, but it does mean a celebration of joy that lasts for more than a day, much like Easter. I love everything about Christmas! From the decorations to the food, from the music to the gifts. I especially enjoy the Midnight Mass. But I also remember that it’s a time of sadness for loved ones who have passed at this time of year, couples that have broken up, marriages that ended in divorce, the homeless and the poor, children who receive nothing, the single and the loveless, those lost to alcohol and drugs, the list goes on. For these I sit in front of my decorated tree, playing my blue Christmas music, and cry. This is why the Christ child is so important to me, to remind me of a world he was willing to be born into. An imperfect world, a world full of misery and shame, but also a world filled with hope. A world filled with decency and faith. Do you think this was an accident? Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham asked God if He would destroy the cities even if there were ten people worth saving and God said He wouldn’t. It’s a lot like that today…Jesus came into the world because there were people worth saving. I love that baby, but you know what? I like the fact that God Himself sent His only son into the world to grant us his grace. What I like even more is the King who is to come…the King who’ll destroy all those sad things I mentioned. No one should be crying at Christmas, unless they’re crying tears of joy. Please remember those less fortunate this Christmas. God bless us…every one. Have a very merry Christmas.
Until next time… have a great Christmas. Love ya!
“Do you know or have youheard? The Lord is theeternal God, creator of the ends of theearth. He does not faint or grow weary,and his knowledge is beyond allscrutiny.” - Isaiah 40:28, NAB
Last Sunday we celebrated the 2nd Sunday of Advent. It should have been a day of praise. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent. Think of it as a happy Lent. Everything we do is in anticipation of the coming of the King. It’s a season of quiet waiting, and we wait with joy.
So, do you know or have you heard? It’s not like it’s a secret you know. That God is eternal and is the creator of all life. Since He is the source of life, He doesn’t grow tired, He doesn’t get weak. He doesn’t suffer from the human affliction. The human body grows weak, faint and weary, but not God. That’s why there’s a spirit of Christmas…it goes on and on. We never get tired of Christmas. We get weary of the consumerism of it, but not the spirit of it. The Lord helps us out by “juicing” us when we start to get spiritually faint or weary. Christmas is an embodiment of this. It seems, no matter how tired we get of it…we have a little more strength, a little more spirit. We strive to understand its focal point…God. And with that we keep hoping and praying for peace, and joy. Not the kind that quits after the season, but the kind that’s just like God…eternal. We have a lot of questions, but we’re not listening to the answers. Those answers are all around us. If we just stop, look and listen…we just may see the eternal God in all of it.
Until next time….pray for peace…luv ya!
My hope is that everyone is having a good Advent season. What makes for a good Advent? Why, much of the same things that makes for a good Lent. Prayer, Reconciliation, scripture reading, Holy Communion and even fasting help, they are all great and help brings us closer to God. But have you ever thought of what really makes a worthwhile Advent? If you answered putting the Christ back into Xmas you’ve nailed it. Although the “baby Jesus” we are familiar with at Christmas is a wonderful sight, we need to remember there is something powerful that lies beneath that image. The image of the baby in the manger is a reminder of what level God is ready to stoop to in order to have us back in His presence and that only He can provide the true joy and happiness to fill the void that the darkness of sin has left. No man can promise joy and happiness like God can. That image of baby Jesus cries out the state of man and his spirit: vulnerable, poor, lowly, fit only to be with animals, and yet God wants more for us. So He came down to our level to show us the way. So it’s the things I mentioned before that make for a great Advent: taking care of other’s needs, loving others for who they are and not expecting love in return, not judging, reconciling our relationships, helping the poor, you get my drift. Below that very same image lays the powerful one, the King who is to come. The mature Christian version of that same image is the hope that is to come. If we look at the image of Christ as described in John’s Book of Revelation, it’s anything but cute, and can even be downright scary, and it’s meant to be. (RV 1: 13-16) Remember, that image stayed with Jesus to the end…weak. Remember Luke’s Gospel? Yep, weak. But as the risen King that is to come that image had to change. Remember, this King has to fight! He can’t look all cute and cuddly battling the likes of Satan and his Antichrist. The lamb has now turned into the Lion. But if we are ready, there’s nothing to fear and we recognize Him for who He is, our loving savior. Are we ready to meet the King this Christmas?
Until next time…have a great Advent and please keep those less fortunate in your prayers … luv ya! Deacon Phil
Psalm 121 is a short Psalm. It is only eight verses long, and titled the Lord My Guardian. It is a song. Let me sing it to you, shhhh……
“I raise my eyes toward the mountains. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. God will not allow your foot to slip; your guardian does not sleep. Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. By day the sun cannot harm you, nor the moon by night. The Lord will guard you from all evil, will always guard your life. The Lord will guard your coming and going both now and forever.”
Isn’t that a beautiful song? It requires a deep understanding that the protection being afforded here is not based on the physical but on the spiritual. Jesus spent a lot of time trying to get us to understand that our relationship with God is not only physical, but spiritual. So much so, that God would allow the body to die in order to save something of much more value to him…our souls. Understand that those who have faith can cross that border not only in spirit, but in body. Jesus showed us this through his many miracles. He spent time on this because it’s something that’s important to us, but he also wanted us to realize that there is something much more powerful in our lives…and that’s our guardian. If we trust in the words of this song, the Lord will help us to realize that He guards us always…even in death, and that even death cannot harm us.
Until next time…please rely on the Lord regularly…luv ya! Deacon Phil
Do you believe in angels? The bible talks about them. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are just three of the angels mentioned in scripture, but there are many, many more. Even Jesus talks about them. I honestly can tell you from my own experiences that I have seen, spoken to and have been touched by them. We even have T.V. shows about them; remember “Touched By An Angel”? So what’s the point? Today’s Psalm is about our Guardian Angels. They are there to protect us, guide us and help as much as possible. I say as much as possible because like God, they will not interfere with free will. Even the fallen angels know that. They can tempt and influence, but they can’t force us to do anything. They need our consent, our yes.
Do we fear God? I mean love Him the way Jesus said, “With our whole mind, heart, soul and being?” For if we do then the angels have our back. Anyone who’s a friend of God is a friend of an angel…the good ones anyway. They are fighting for us (See Daniel), protecting us (See Exodus), helping us in our daily lives (See Tobit) or wreaking havoc (Job). They live to love and serve God. So be careful, they are neutral (See Exodus and Joshua). If you love Jesus and fear God, then your angel will fight to the death for you. But they need your help; they need your faith and they need you prayers. They are not to be worshipped or served and THEY will tell you as much; worship God, He alone is worthy.
By the way, how do you say thank you to your Guardian Angel? By giving God the Glory, alleluia!
Until next time…pray! The angels bring your prayers and petitions before God! Luv ya! Deacon Phil
The Trinity is ever present. Today’s verse is about love and searching. No matter which “one” you’re searching for, you’ll still find the other two. When I was a teenager my mom always told me, “whatever you’re searching for, you’re bound to find it.” This was in reference to looking for trouble, and of course…my mom was right; and so is this proverb. When one is looking, they can also be looking in all the wrong places. Sometimes we can search a lifetime for something or someone staring us right in the face. When we search for God, we find Jesus and the Holy Spirit, when we search for Jesus, we find the other two. All three are one and each one is in all three. Jesus invited us into the Trinity and vice versa. We can’t love God and not love Jesus. We can’t love Jesus and not love the Holy Spirit, and so forth. But that is precisely what some of us try to do, love one…without loving the others. In a search to find God, we will eventually find Jesus and the Holy Spirit as well. Now about this “love” thing; if I hate God, does that mean He hates me? Not exactly. When one loves God, they get a glimpse of a love that is infinite. It is amazing to learn one’s capacity to love and forgive. Jesus gave us a look of this kind of love and forgiveness. When we love God He gives us the same capacity and the same gift He gave His son…the Holy Spirit. When we love Jesus, he gives us the same gift. One who hates God will not realize this because they have themselves cut off from God. In other words, when we love God and He loves us…nothing is hidden.
Until next time…keep your heart on the Trinity and keep praying …luv ya! Deacon Phil
During my stint in the Navy on the USS Connole FF-1056, I had to replace the aircraft warning lights; the red lights that you can see at the highest point of the ship’s mast to prevent aircraft from hitting it. (Also found on towers and buildings, etc.) It was dangerous work and I was the only one willing to do it. But this particular day would be different. As I hung changing the light a terrible storm was coming through. I was ordered to stay up because it was more dangerous for me to climb down. At first I thought my shipmates were out of their minds, but the force of the wind and the pelting rain proved difficult…I could fall, and it was about 14 floors down. I was holding on to the mast top for dear life and my team was afraid it would snap due to the force of the wind. Suddenly I felt a calm peace surround me and heard my chief whisper over my radio to let go. ”Do you trust me?” he asked. “No” I replied, “but I do trust God.” I no longer heard the wind, felt the beating rain…just the calm. I prayed and let go. I had turned my harness into a make shift sling and just hung. I don’t know how long I was up there but it was so peaceful… you guessed it, I fell asleep.
All good sailors check their equipment to make sure it can deliver; but many don’t check their faith to see if God can. We put our trust in people and things that are here today and gone tomorrow, not trustworthy or reliable, and we do the same with our salvation. God alone is secure and will not allow us to fall; God alone saves and is steady as a rock. Until next time…if we put our hope in God, we shall not fall. …luv ya! Deacon Phil
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers.” - 1 Peter 3:12, NAB
I have to admit sometimes I get perturbed and wonder if God is listening. Then I come across a verse like this, and it makes me wonder where I’m at in my life. The last thing I think about is being righteous. So what’s it mean? It means: Just; accordant to the divine law. Applied to persons, it denotes one who is holy in heart, and observant of the divine commands in practice; as a righteous man. Applied to things, it denotes consonant to the divine will or to justice; as a righteous act. It is used chiefly in theology, and applied to God, to his testimonies and to his saints. So there you have it. Hmmmm…. This should really make our minds and our hearts wonder. Sometimes we forget the kind of relationship Jesus asked us to have with God. A father & child relationship is what he alluded to. Sometimes a father will ignore his son or daughter depending on how they are behaving. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love them; it just means that he doesn’t care for their behavior. Well God is like that too. When we’re living in a state of sin we may be ignored. That’s why we have Reconciliation. Note the verse doesn’t say we need to be perfect or the face of the Lord is against sinners. God’s face is against one who is truly evil, and on that one He will exact judgment. So when we’re living with a holy heart and practicing what Jesus taught us, then we are in tune with the Lord. He watches and listens to our prayers.
Until next time…keep your eyes on the Lord and keep praying …luv ya!
I love to read the Psalms, there’s something for everyone and just about every topic. This verse is absolutely beautiful. Those who love to read or listen to scripture, have much peace. Those who follow Jesus’ teaching have much peace too. For those who believe the truth there is nothing that will make us stumble. Isn’t that wonderful? These are not just words to read, but words to live by. The promise is the hope that comes with the Lord. Buried within its pages are not just the teachings of the prophets, but of God himself, and of his Son. Yes, and in those teachings we find not only peace, but comfort and joy as well. Alleluia! Unlike the teachings of false teachers and prophets; Jesus’ teachings are based on truth, living by them will not cause us to stumble and eventually fall. So, let us rejoice in the teachings of the Lord our God and in His Son, and in the Holy Spirit! Alleluia!
Until next time…peace be with you…luv ya! Deacon Phil