This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Ever since the reform of the Roman Calendar, this feast has been held on the Sunday following Christmas. It was approved by Pope Leo XIII in 1893 and later raised to a higher status by Pope Benedict XV in 1921. Both saw this feast as an excellent way to call the faithful to a deeper meditation on the true value of the family in modern society. We truly can benefit from the example of the Holy Family today in the midst of so much divorce, discord, and anti-Christian sentiment.
The human family needs to regain its place as the “Domestic Church” and a most important cell of society. It is within the family that we first learn how to love our neighbor and put others before ourselves. It is also within the family that we find our identity through our family history. And it is within the family that we learn what it truly means to be created in the image of God, who Himself is a communion of Persons. We are made for community, not loneliness. We are made for each other, to help each other along out of love. And it all begins within the human family. Let us spend some time today reflecting on the virtues of Mary and Joseph through their home life with their son Jesus. And let us pray for all families, new and old, happy and struggling.
– Father Scott Thomas, December 29, 2019
I always feel sorry for the fourth week of Advent. We never really get to enjoy a full week. That poor fourth candle is waiting so long to brighten our time, and then sometimes it only gets a day or two to work. But I doubt the candle minds knowing that it will soon be stepping aside for an even greater light—Jesus Christ. Yes, the Advent Wreath will soon give way and be removed from sight because the season will have run its course and a greater season will take over to celebrate the birth of the Light of the world Himself!
The Christmas Season begins with the first Vigil Mass on December 24, where we will celebrate in great anticipation the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. But it won’t end with that. Christmas presents may be opened and society’s decorations may be removed. But the Holy Church founded by Jesus Christ will continue with the Christmas Season through the Epiphany on January 6 and even all the way to January 12 when we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord. You read that right—the Christmas Season does not end until January 12! So keep those trees up and that music playing! Everyone was so anxious to get it started in November, but will they keep it going into January? We at St Mary Basilica and Assumption Parish will! And I hope you will join us in your own homes!
– Father Scott Thomas, December 22, 2019
“Gaudéte in Dómino semper: iterum dico, gaudéte. Dóminus enim prope est” (Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near). As we reach the halfway point of the liturgical season of Advent, Mother Church gives us this passage from Philippians 4:4-5 as the Entrance Antiphon for Sunday’s Mass. The Entrance Antiphon is always a scripture passage that sets the tone for the celebration about to take place. We recite it on weekdays at the beginning of Holy Mass. But on weekends, we replace it with a hymn. Looking at this antiphon, you can see where the Third Sunday of Advent gets its name—Gaudete Sunday. It is on this Sunday that we light the rose-colored candle on the Advent Wreathe.
It is also on this Sunday that the priest has the option to wear rose-colored vestments. The use of the more festive color of rose should inspire us to rejoicing that we are getting closer and closer to the celebration of the Nativity of our Savior Jesus Christ. Surely, we have reason to rejoice because the Light of the World is coming nearer and nearer. Even if we do not know the day we will die or the time at which He will return, we can still say that every day we complete gets us one day closer to meeting our Savior face to face. Perhaps spend a moment and consider the previous two weeks of Advent. How prayerful have you been? What have you done to prepare yourself—body and soul—for meeting your Savior? What more can you do now to prepare through these remaining days? Rejoice and be glad for He truly is near! Let us all go out together to meet Him!
– Father Scott Thomas, December 15, 2019
The Sacrament of Marriage is a marvelous Sacrament instituted by God to be an image of His love for us. The way a husband loves his wife should be an image of Jesus’ love for His bride, the Church (all of us). The Church describes marriage as “the one blessing not forfeited by original sin nor washed away by the flood.” Therefore, it is a most important Sacrament for us all as Catholics and Christians. In Matthew 18:18, our Lord Jesus Christ tells the Apostles, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,” giving them and the Church authority over the Sacrament of Marriage. Therefore, it states in Canon Law that all Catholics are bound to being married by validly ordained Catholic clergy and two witnesses (see Can. 1108)
It has come to our attention that there are couples in our parishes who, for whatever reason, are not validly married in the Catholic Church. If you are Catholic and not married in the Church, this means you are not living in communion with the Church and, therefore, are not worthy of receiving Holy Communion. But don’t let this discourage you. Fr Mark and I want to help rectify this situation, give you the grace of the Sacrament of Marriage, and bring you back into full communion with Christ’s Church. If you were married outside of the Church, we would like to meet with you.
– Father Scott Thomas, December 8, 2019
It ain’t Christmas, yet. That’s always my motto for this time of the year. It ain’t Christmas, yet. We have not celebrated the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ yet, nor has He returned in His Second Coming. And that is what Christmas is all about—celebrating the Incarnation and birth of the Son of God as well as preparing for the Second Coming and final judgment at the end of time.
Of course, society doesn’t care about that because it doesn’t want to be challenged too much. But what happens to a body that is never challenged? It fails to reach its full potential and, in many cases, diminishes. In the liturgical worship of the Church that Christ founded, we begin the Advent Season today. Historically this was a penitential season a lot like Lent. And penance is always a good way to prepare for a great celebration as it removes anything preventing us from fully receiving the grace of the celebratory season.
It ain’t Christmas, yet. Christmas begins on December 24 and continues (contrary to our Godless society) at least through the Solemnity of the Epiphany on January 6 if not all the way to the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (this year celebrated on January 12). Society may put everything away on December 26, but our liturgical worship of God will continue. And we must ask, which one will get us to Heaven—society’s calendar or the calendar of our worshipping of God?
– Father Scott Thomas, December 1, 2019
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