The Jews Missed the Messiah! (According to Christians)

The Jews Missed the Messiah! (According to Christians)

Why Advent?  We have been listening to Christmas Carols in stores for months.  Churches have Christmas lights and Trees already up and decorated.  Why bother with a three week season this year?  Ponder this: The Jews Missed the Messiah!  (According to Christians)  But by our faith, the Jews, missed Him after generations and generations, of preparation.  Read the start of the Gospel of Matthew to confirm all the generations that they prepared.

I get tagged on Facebook with all the places that are celebrating Christmas.  Teachers and staff are quickly stopping their Christmas music when I show up.  I grew up and in house where advent was a wreath and we had advent calendars, but the prayer we prayed before we opened the window was, “let us remember as we pray this CHRISTMAS game that it was a night so long ago, that baby Jesus came.”  Well it is half and half.  My mom would have the house fully decorated for Thanksgiving so that we could enjoy it.

Every room, even bathrooms, had something Christmasy and she had what seemed like hundreds of different nativity sets, ornaments from all of our travels, it was spectacular.  Dad made it so that Christmas music started while we did the Thanksgiving dinner dishes.  The part that made me the most crazy was that Christmas evening my Mom was already planning on taking it all down.  She was tired of it.  My dad’s battle was to leave the main Nativity scene up long enough for the Wise Guys to show up at Epiphany.

Why Advent?

I sometimes want to say, OH HECK WITH IT, do what you want.  But I can’t, it is too important.  Listen to the prophecies.  Think about all the preparation the Jews had for the exact Messiah foretold to them for all these generations.  By skipping Advent and diving into Christmas, are we robbing ourselves of the season we need the most?

I look at our world and think most people don’t get it.  As I look at my life, I realize in many aspects, I am still struggling to get it.  If we got it, we wouldn’t let our friends sit at home, we wouldn’t passively attend Mass or any church.  We would be unstoppable.

Advent is a season to focus on preparation.  We are giving this season, to focus on what we do daily to be prepared.  Can we afford to take this for granted?  There was a book many years ago The Inconvenient Truth and although I have no idea what it was about or if I ever even read it, the title strikes me this Advent.

Our Inconvenient Truth

By Baptism we are called to evangelize.  I fear we are falling into the same trap as the Jews.  We become complacent.  We go to church, we tithe, we do all the things we are supposed to, just like the scribes, pharisees and Sadducees.

Question to help us focus on Advent:

Are we dealing with everyone in our lives as a creation of God?  Even the wonderful people cutting us off in traffic or “stealing” our parking places?

What would I do if this were my last day? (answer should be nothing, I’m ready) (it isn’t for most of us)

Who do I need to drag into church?

Do I spend enough time everyday with God?

If God appears before me, will I recognize that as my God?  (don’t be too sure, many Jews missed Jesus)

As the readings challenge us, Wake UP!  The time is at hand!  Even if the second coming isn’t close, the world is in desperate need of Christians on fire with their faith!

Confirmation – Something New for this Priest to Ponder!

Confirmation – Something new for this priest to ponder!

Confirmation is something new for me to ponder!  Sunday for the first time as the presider, I had the privilege to confirm 57 young people.  I have had the bad luck to hear some of the worst confirmation homilies of all time.  I’ve watched bishops warn young people about the dangers of sex, masturbation and porn in a way that gives them a road map to all these things.

Where my family lives was among the worst.  My brother even sent me a list of gifts of the holy spirit and social justice issues to help prepare my homily.  He did this having had to sit through some of the same, ick.  I reminded him that I only had 45 minutes for this.  I better would stick with the tried and true.

After our laugh, I started to think, what the heck can I say that will reach these sophomores on a hot Sunday afternoon.  After some thought and prayer, I left the readings behind and went with the fact that we are created in the image and likeness of God.  I talked about my struggles and leave of absence and told them life can get hard, but with the gifts of Grace from the Sacraments, we can conquer anything.    I reminded them that God made them exactly as they were on purpose!  Each created to show a different aspect of who our God is to the world.  It was a good B+ homily, but nothing compared to what came next.

Renewing our baptismal promises, every question met with a strong response of, I DO!  The confirmation followed.  I had always wondered how Archbishop Gustavo could preside at over 120 confirmations a year and be so good at it.  Looking up for the first time, no more, mission accomplished, 57 newly confirmed, wow.  I figured we were half way, but we were finished!  What an amazingly intimate moment of grace with our youth.

In Short…

Until yesterday, there was nothing about being a dean that I would miss.  Now when this job is finished, I will greatly miss the privilege of confirming our youth.  From the beginning to the end, it was amazing.

Sitting vs Kneeling vs Standing Until Everyone has Received Communion

Sitting vs Kneeling vs Standing Until Everyone has Received Communion

—Reposting as article changed its URL

If I had known the headache my request to try standing after communion for a few months was going to create, I probably would have decided to wait, maybe for ever.  This is an extra to help clarify.  (I hope)

Here is another priests take on the same question:

Maybe this will help.  Thanks Gigi for finding this!

Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion

Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion

I was assigned to my current parish July 1st last year.  Before I even arrived the previous pastor handed me their pastoral priorities.  The Archdiocese had all parishes do that, and St. Pius X took that very seriously.  The main points were 3 pages long and with all the clarifications was much longer.  What does this have to do with Standing vs Kneeling after Receiving Communion?  Let me tell you….

Two if the items presented to me were to increase reverence during Mass and music.  At a conference two presenters talked about remaining standing after receiving communion and the great impact it had on the assembly.  I talked to many people and we decided to give it a try.  After mass, there was a very positive response and I think a total of 4 people against.  I liked the prayerful sense I felt during communion this weekend.

The whole time I have said that we are trying this for a few months to see if it fits this community.  I was surprised that this morning there were a few emails and letters of people wanting to leave the parish if we keep doing this.  Then I find on Facebook that a parishioner quoting a priest saying that what we are doing isn’t Catholic.  I just don’t get how easy it is for people to manufacture truth online.  Part of me longs for simpler days, but then I lose this forum and I realize it is just part of life today!

That said, here are the directions from the GIRM (General Instruction on the Roman Missal or the instruction book for our liturgies), if you click here, it will take to to link I got this from on the USCCB website.

From the GIRM:

43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance Chant, or while the Priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia Chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Universal Prayer; and from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the Prayer over the Offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated here below.

The faithful should sit, on the other hand, during the readings before the Gospel and the Responsorial Psalm and for the Homily and during the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory; and, if appropriate, they may sit or kneel during the period of sacred silence after Communion.

In the Dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.[53]

For the sake of uniformity in gestures and bodily postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the instructions which the Deacon, a lay minister, or the Priest gives, according to what is laid down in the Missal.

Note:  Communion isn’t over till the prayer after communion where we now are all all seated together and I guess if people wanted to kneel they could.

In Short:

The time after we receive communion isn’t really private prayer time.  It is communal.  We are to be signing and praying together.  I hope we can give this enough time to see if this works for us.

What does your Church do?

Prayers at Mass revisited! Priestly Ponderings, back from the past!

Prayers at Mass revisited! Priestly Ponderings, back from the past!

Months ago, I wrote about some of my favorite prayers at mass the 1missalexemplify what we believe.  Even though I have to practice them and they don’t ever seem to roll of the tongue, they have some real beauty and meaning.

This next Sunday, being our Festival is a great coincidence as the prayer after communion for this week was one of the prayers I love.  It forced me to look deeper into the new prayers many years ago.  Since, that blog was in the early days and wasn’t read by very many, I decided to revisit this one.   I hope more read it and find my love for the prayer after communion this weekend.  Hopefully also an insight into the rest of the presidential prayers.  You need to read the blog however to see why.

Click here to visit this blog post

The Mass Part II

Liturgy of the Word The Mass Part I left us at the readings in the Liturgy of the Word.  I could write many pet peeve blogs about how we read/stumble through/proclaim the Word of God.  We believe that Jesus is the Word made flesh.  In the early days of our faith the Israelites believed that the word had so much power that they would not even say the word or name they had for their God.  We have sense removed that word from usage also.  When someone calls us Fat or Stupid, especially when we are kids, that can have power.  It frustrates me when those proclaiming God’s word, don’t do it with respect and awe.

In ancient times the Bible was communicated by an oral tradition.  Those trained from a young age were entrusted with specific sections to pass to the next generation.  That spoken word was reverenced.  When it could be first put to print it was a long, pains taking process using scarce resources and Gospelsonly the very rich could have copies.  We still reverence the books that contain the Word, especially the book of the Gospels.

A few years ago in the sacristy before Mass, luckily not at my Church, the Lector was absent.  The head of the Lectors said, I can do it.  He had no clue when asked what Readings for the day were.  Earlier I’d seen a friend enter that I knew always prepared readings prepared for Mass.  I asked him go get her.  He was a bit miffed saying that he could have winged it.  I explained after Mass that I had a hard time imagining the head Lector say that he was OK winging it.  The Word of God should never been taken that casually.  We should be honored and prepared to proclaim it.

That said, the Liturgy of the Word is essential to the Mass.  We have God made present in the Word, and ancient psalm is sung that prepares us and points to the Gospel and the homily takes the readings and relates them to our current life.  Or it should.  I believe usually that the Homily should answer the question, why did the Church give us these readings for today and how do we apply them to our lives today.  That’s just me.

In Short

The Liturgy of the Word is the first time that we make God present in the celebration of the Mass.  That is why I don’t like it when people hold up the book and say, THE WORD OF THE LORD or THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD.  It is what’s proclaimed, and not what’s printed.

The Mass Part 1

From questions I receive almost daily, I know that the Church has done a poor job educating the faithful about Eucharist and Liturgy.  This series will focus primarily on the Mass.


This will be in 4 parts.  The first part being from the beginning to the Word.  That is this blog.   Next post will deal with the rest of the Liturgy of the Word.  This next section may just be the preparation of gifts, but may include the Eucharistic Prayer.  And of course the conclusion.  So depending on middle section it may be 4 or 5 posts.


When does Mass start? The music, the parking lot? The sign of the cross.  I  already have a blog on this, but in short, the person we are when the celebration starts matters, so Mass starts when we start preparing Continue reading “The Mass Part 1”

4 July and here come the Flags- Pet-Peeve #2

Some background to maybe keep you reading, before I get into why I think there should be no flags. My dad served for almost 30 years in the US Air No Flags just not in sancutaryForce.  I server for 13 years in the USAF Reserves.  I have lost friends and do whatever I can to support our military.  I was even the president of the Randolph AFB Air Power Community Council.  I served proudly and continue to show support whenever I can.  I am also the one that stops and stands during the national anthem every time I hear it.  If I can’t stand, I will stop talking. I am a proud vet and American.

That said, I do not believe that flags belong in the Sanctuary of a church.

Continue reading “4 July and here come the Flags- Pet-Peeve #2”

Do we really need the Presentation of the Gifts?


In an effort to save time or make things simpler and to make things easier for servers, I have heard people suggest we can skip the offertory procession or the presentation of the gifts.  This brings me back to that sad survey showing that less than half of all Catholics believe in the Church’s teaching on the Real Presence.  I hope this is in part because we have not done a good enough job teaching what we believe, and not a massive crisis of faith.

Continue reading “Do we really need the Presentation of the Gifts?”