Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord Jesus in your life? Blessed are you if you see and recognize the Lord with the "eyes of faith". The word "blessed" [makarios in Greek] literally means "happiness" or "beatitude". It describes a kind of joy which is serene and untouchable, self-contained, and independent from chance and changing circumstances of life. There is a certain paradox for those "blessed" by the Lord. Mary was given the "blessedness" of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. Anselm, a great teacher and Archbishop of Canterbury (1033-1109), spoke these words in a homily: "Without God's Son nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed." To be chosen by God is an awesome privilege and responsibility. Mary received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. Her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that "no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take away. Mary is our model of faith, of hope and of trust.
At the very end of the Annunciation, Gabriel informs Mary of her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy and so Mary goes immediately and quickly to see her. What is the significance of Mary's visit to her cousin Elizabeth before the birth of Jesus? When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in Mary's womb they were filled with the Holy Spirit and with a joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise to give a Savior. What a marvelous wonder for God to fill not only Elizabeth's heart with his Holy Spirit but the child in her womb as well. John the Baptist, even before the birth of the Messiah, pointed to his coming and leapt for joy in the womb of his mother as the Holy Spirit revealed to him the presence of the King to be born. The Holy Spirit is God's gift to us to enable us to know and experience the indwelling presence of God and the power of his kingdom. The Holy Spirit is the way in which God reigns within each of us.
Many thanks to those who were involved in our St. Dominic Christmas Giving Program. Special thanks to all the members of St. Vincent de Paul for their tireless efforts, not only with this program, but every day of the year. Many volunteers and donors make this Christmas Giving Program possible to those in our community who are marginalized in some way. Our parishioners stepped up to the plate again this year and I thank you for your awesome generosity. So many families have been helped again by St. Dominic Parish.
Thanks to the Knights of Columbus for organizing and running our tree lighting ceremony and the evening with Santa. The kids and the kids at heart all had a wonderful time. Thanks to Santa and his helper for being able to visit us so close to his big night, Christmas Eve!!