Holy Family

Holy Family

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feast of Saint Peter Canisius

Good morning. As we near the completion of our Advent journey we look once again to the witness of Mary and her response to God’s call in her life. Our Blessed Mother after hearing from God’s messenger that her cousin Elizabeth was pregnant she traveled the four day journey to Ain Karim in the hill country of Judah to visit her cousin Elizabeth. We read in today's Gospel that Mary could not remain in the comfort of her home in Nazareth, no her willingness to do God's will led her immediately to reach out to someone in need, her cousin Elizabeth. In this simple act of kindness Mary and her cousin teach us about Advent, about hope and give witness to the kingdom and peace of Christ. This simple beautiful story of two pregnant women visiting with one another and sharing their experience of God with one another offers us a very luminous example of how each of us are called to share with others our own experiences of God. Just as these two women shared with one another their experience of God in their lives we likewise are called to leave the comfort of our homes and take the message of His salvation to others we meet. Like Mary and Elizabeth we do this in the everyday language of love, in our greeting of others. In the same way these two hill country women greeted one another, in the language of Beatitudes—“Blessed are you…--and gave witness to the Glory of God, we too are called to do the same. And, just as it was with Mary and Elizabeth, this call to give witness begins within our own families. The language of the Beatitudes offers us the words necessary for bringing comfort to others found in message of peace and salvation of the Child we shall soon visit in Bethlehem.

Too often however we are reluctant to share this Good News and that is just fine with our secular culture for they don’t want reminders of this event anyways in the public square. For many in our current day society Advent and the arrival of the Prince of Peace are not a welcomed part of the celebration; no, for many it is about “Black Friday” and the opportunity to engage in festive self-indulgence, not about an Infant destined to be our Savior. The best weapon the Devil has is our reluctance to share our experience of God. Yet, like the two women kibitzing in a small village in Judah we are called to share our own personal experiences of God. In but a few short days we will come together as family, as a faith community to commemorate an event which changed the world. We will recall the birth of a Child who changed the world forever, and we are called to do likewise. As Blessed John Paul II noted in Familiaris Consortio, “the Christian family is called upon, like the 'large-scale church,' to be a sign of unity to the world, and in this way to exercise its prophetic role by bearing witness to the kingdom and peace of Christ, toward which the whole world is journeying.” Our beloved departed brother in Christ, Pope John Paul II noted further in the same document that the family is the “most effective means for humanizing and personalizing society.” There is no better means by which to make this world a better place than from within our very family. So in what few days remains in this Advent season let His message of peace begin with each one of us now and in the New Year. Let us follow the example of Saint Peter Canisius whose life we celebrate today by giving witness to the Good News in our example and in our words. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good life, gifts, and works of Saint Peter Canisius. “If the princes and rulers of this world are privileged to make merry over the sons of their flesh, what a mountain of reasons we have for exulting over the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior!”

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