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Spiritual Reflections

Ponder it all

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We celebrate the feast of the Holy Family on the first Sunday after Christmas, Dec. 27, just when some toys are already broken, chocolate Santas sit in the clearance bin and Valentine's decorations begin to appear. As we get back to "normal," the church offers us the ideal of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family whose supposed peaceful, loving life might seem further removed from us than we would want to admit.

Easing the way for others

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Wherever construction or demolition is taking place, there is often a crowd of onlookers whose curiosity has drawn them to the site. They look on, usually silently, as gigantic machines haul debris away while other heavy equipment carries all the supplies that will eventually become a new edifice. They look on as roads are paved and lines are drawn to ensure the safety of future travelers. They look on as bumps are smoothed and sharp curves are rendered less dangerous.

Promises, promises

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In a cold and fallow season of waiting, watching and wondering, it is not surprising to find ourselves reflecting on the past and looking toward the future, taking stock and hoping for something better to come. Advent is the season of promise par excellence. We willingly wait. We anticipate the birth of Jesus and all that symbolizes for us, and we do so in the light of promises extending back to the Hebrew Scriptures and beyond.

The verdict

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Who are you? Where do you come from? What do you know? What have you accomplished with your life? Those are more or less the questions one is supposed to answer on a résumé. Although some are tempted to creatively enhance the narrative, in the end it's vital that the person described by the responses be recognizable as the one whose name is at the top of the page.

Authentic discipleship

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As we approach the end of the liturgical year, the focus of our Sunday readings turns to the end times and to what is expected of those who claim to be faithful disciples of the living God. As disciples, we are expected to know and live out the covenant relationship that God has initiated and that we have accepted.
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A communion of saints

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This year, Nov. 1, the Solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Sunday. The solemnity supersedes the Thirty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time and offers Lectionary readings unique to its themes. All the readings focus on our status as "children of God" (second reading) called into loving and eternal relationship with God and with all those who belong to God.

The least are greatest

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How often do we secretly find ourselves standing with James and John, hoping for the public recognition of being with Jesus in glory? Having read the Scriptures and learned something of manners, few of us would be as unsophisticated and obvious as they were. (Matthew 20:20-23 makes their mother the petitioner, thus salvaging something of the brothers' reputation.)

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