Holy Family

Dear Friends,

This column is being written on December 14, before the Fourth Sunday of Advent but you are just getting to read it now, the third day of the Octave of Christmas, Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family. At this moment of writing, we are all still wondering what our Christmas celebrations will be like. As you read this, we all have our memories of Christmas 2020. On this Feast of the Holy Family, I pray that all of you are drawing closer to your families and your friends, sharing the incomparable joy of the Birth of our Savior whose return we eagerly await.

Perhaps a positive note in the midst of the suffering and trials of the pandemic, is the opportunity it is giving us to settle down more, to focus on that which is essential and enduring rather than all of the transitory elements of hectic and busy lives. Essential to this is to enter into deeper prayer, pondering all that we are grateful for. A heart filled with gratitude wells up with praise and adoration of our heavenly Father and overflows with generosity to family, friends, co-workers, fellow parishioners, neighbors, the stranger we meet along the way, and yes even those who do not love us in return.

May we be filled with deeper prayer, abundant gratitude, exuberant praise and adoration, and overflowing generosity each of these Christmas days and all the days of the new year ahead. Let us personally fulfill Saint Paul’s instructions in today’s second reading, “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Living in and with grateful hearts, generosity, compassion, humility, gentleness, patience, thankfulness, prayer, praise, adoration, bearing and forgiving one another ~ all this becomes possible as we surrender ourselves to God’s grace in Jesus Christ, our Lord. As the Lord transforms us from within, so we become cooperators in transforming this world into His Kingdom.

God bless you, God love you,

with profound gratitude,

Monsignor McCulken

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