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December 25, 2017

THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD

JMJ

The three-letter signature above represents Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We who grew up in the 1960s (baby boomers and earlier), especially those of us who went to Catholic Schools, were always encouraged to invoke the help of the three members of the Holy Family whenever we wrote a paper or completed a homework assignment. As with many practices of our early years, they eventually became unfashionable and faded away as we grew older. But it seems that everything is cyclical. Sometimes things find their way back into our lives, including JMJ.

They are the most famous family in the world, for all time. Mary, chosen by God from the beginning to be the spotless vessel by which His Son would come into the world; Joseph, the just man, the quiet man of scripture, also chosen to be the earthly father, and provider for his family; and finally, Jesus. They called him Jesus because he was to save his people from their sins. Jesus means savior.

Today we celebrate the Holy Family, a mom and a dad, and their newborn son, and their arrival in Bethlehem. Bethlehem, the City of David, means House of Bread, and Jesus wanted to be known as The Bread of Life. We know their story well but there are forces now, as there were then, that want to suppress it. The Church and its faithful, under the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit, keep this story alive. They, and we become Jesus to the world, allowing our lives to be guided by gospel values and having the courage to share the good news with our troubled world.

Maybe you’ve seen the ads on television this season. Here in the Diocese of Lansing under the guidance of our Bishop, special commercials are being shown. The series is called Catholics, Come Home and it’s produced by an ad agency in Arizona headed by Tom Peterson who has also authored a book and a TV series of the same name. They are short presentations of various aspects of our Catholic story. One of them, called EPIC, tells the tale of our Catholic faith from the beginning to the present. A very condensed version to be sure, but with enough information to hopefully persuade the viewer that this is not just our Church, but the one, holy, and apostolic Church established by Jesus Himself at the Last Supper where He provided us with Himself as spiritual food. And later, as He left this world and returned to His Father in heaven, He gave His disciples the Great Commission to go forth, baptizing all nations, teaching them to observe all the things that He had taught them.

If we have any Catholics with us tonight (or this Christmas morning) who have perhaps, wandered away from Christ’s Church, we welcome you on this holy day, but we also invite you to make it permanent.  Get fed regularly here at this ‘House of Bread’ where God feeds you His Son, the Living Bread come down from Heaven.

Addenda:

Because Christmas falls on Monday this year, we have combined our bulletin with the Fourth Sunday of Advent. New Year’s Day is when we celebrate the feast of The Holy Mother of God, however it is not a holy day of obligation this year so we will not be having a New Year’s vigil Mass. I will still have a Mass at 10:00am on New Year’s Day for those who wish to participate and honor our Mother.

Holy Spirit Parish may be small but we are very active and have many ministries that serve the needs of our parishioners and our community. You will find them listed in this special Christmas issue. Maybe you will find an activity in which you would like to participate in the New Year. Everyone should be doing something on behalf of the Kingdom of God on earth. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, visit the sick and imprisoned. And a little reminder if you attend Holy Spirit regularly and you are not registered, you should be. It gives you Ecclesial Status. And that doesn’t just mean that you get envelopes from us, it means you get grace from God. It’s His intention that the faithful be committed to His community, and to formally support it with their time, talent, and treasure. (continued)

I hope you all enjoyed the decorated church. Thanks to all who set it up and who will also take it down in a few weeks. It’s a labor of love, you know.

I encourage all of you to check our website from time to time at www.hsrcc.net. You will find lots of good church data and  information about things that are currently happening or are planned for the coming year. My and Deacon Jerry’s homilies are recorded and you can find them at the Media heading on the tool bar at the top of the homepage. Also of interest under the Media tab is the “Links” heading. This consists of links to interesting websites or videos that have been sent to me and I in turn often provide them to you for your enjoyment and enrichment. Fr. J

 

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