If you have been Catholic for a while, you may have proof of your affiliation; holy cards, novenas or attendance at Parish retreats or missions on occasion.  In the Divine Office for December 21, the priest reads “when the Lord comes again, will he find faith on the face of the earth?” Every time I read this I think that clearly there is a difference in the Lord’s mind over faith and religion not being the same thing. Now that Christmas, at least on our calendar, has come and gone, I am reminded that as daily routine returns, words that we use actually mean something. I confess, some Christmas cards seem to inspire more than others. On one, Mary is looking at her Baby as she holds Him in her arms, and the heading, THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL. That being said, why so much stuff in my life?  Is the greatest gift sometimes lost in the congestion of other gifts that I must have? Another card that brought me pause, the Blessed Virgin kisses her Child on the cheek, KISSING THE FACE OF GOD. It reminded me of a line in Les Misérables in which Victor Hugo says, “To love another person is to see the face of God.” What does that mean for a husband when he comes home from work and greets the mother of his children, his soulmate?  What is the foundation for the zeal and commitment of a priest to his flock?  It will be always the permanent challenge not just to say prayers or give sermons or sign up for ministry in the Parish, but to be who I say I am, a disciple of the Baby in Bethlehem.  In the not what I think it is category, I read online news from the Irish Times reporting that two baby monkeys were recently born in the Dublin Zoo, and as the reporter described it, “just in time for the holiday season.” Really!

God Bless,
Fr. John