Friday, November 30, 2007

Merry Christmas

This That and the Other…….

Ringing the Bell for Pizza

I am not a pizza fan but on occasion I pick up a pie on my way home so I don’t have to go out to eat. Well tonight I stopped at a local pizza place no names but it starts with D and ends in O. I parked and walked to the front door to pick up my pizza and found the door locked. They were busy taking orders and putting pizza in boxes. There was no instruction on the door no clue as to what I needed to do to get in. I found a key pad but no secret code. I knocked and then saw a button on the key pad that said bell, now we are getting some where. I rang the bell nothing happened. I rang again and finally someone pushed a button and I gained entry.

To be honest while I was locked out it crossed my mind to let them keep their pizza. It actually crossed my mind several times. But hey it’s the season to be jolly not going to let a lock ruin my day. But what has the world come to when a place of business must keep the door locked. I could understand if we were talking about jewelry store. But a pizza joint give me a break. What do they think will happen? If someone was going to rob the place if they are smart they will hide the gun and ring the bell. Hey maybe they will take some pepperoni hostage.

Bah Humbug

Well maybe not this year. I have resolved to have a Merry Christmas. In an earlier blog I indicated that my problem with Christmas was the commercialization of the holiday. Well I am sure you have noticed that retailers have not in unison put Christ front and center this season. So what has changed? Quite simply I have. I cannot turn the tide of commercialism but I choose to participate in a limited way. I will spend time with family and friends. Attend mass and do my best to put Christ first during Advent and through out the year.

I have purchased my wife’s gift and she has made travel arrangements for our daughter to celebrate Christmas with us this year. Our oldest son will be home our youngest son will not be with us but we will get together by phone. First and foremost our grandson will celebrate his third Christmas. And you can’t imagine how much fun it is to watch him open his gifts. You can bet he is no scrooge. And he has reached the age where he knows what Christmas is about from a child’s perspective. Imagination is a wonderful gift.

I cannot control what others choose to do but I can make my holiday what I believe it should be. So if I choose I can have a Merry Christmas. I know the pressures placed on parents this time of year to provide for their children. The hustle and bustle in and of itself will ruin a holiday in a heart beat.

It is my prayer for myself and for you that this year Christmas will be a peaceful joy filled season. And may you be surrounded by the love of Christ and those dear to you.

Merry Christmas one and All

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Wondering about heaven - Thirty Second Sunday Ordinary Time

Thirty Second Sunday Ordinary Time

Luke 20:27, 34-38

Wondering about Heaven

The Sadducees a religious sect in Jesus day did not believe in the resurrection. They came to Jesus and proposed a scenario followed by a question. The scenario and question were an attempt to discredit Jesus teaching about the resurrection and life after death.

The scenario is about a young childless widow. Following her husbands death she is given to her husband’s brother in marriage as prescribed by law to provide descendants for her husband. The first brother also dies as well as the second third until all the brothers were dead leaving a childless widow. The wife also dies. The question proposed, following the resurrection whose wife will she be?

Jesus response affirms his teaching of a bodily resurrection and provides insight about what heaven will be like.

1. There will be no marriage in heaven.

Why, because there is no death in heaven. There are many benefits to marriage two of which I want to mention here. The first is children. Children ensured the continuing of the human race. Secondly marriage produces a bond between a husband and wife that does not exist outside the marriage bond. Sex outside of marriage reduces the sex act to one of passion and lust. No bond exists and a mockery of made of the marriage bond.

2. God is the God of the living not the dead

We live on through out all eternity. This is our hope. The apostle Paul said we sorrow not as others who have no hope. God is the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. They are physically dead and yet live awaiting the resurrection.

3. Heaven is not an extension of this life

The Sadducees painted a picture of life after death much like this life. Who will her husband be?

We have a tendency to do the same. Heaven is much like this life only better. No death, taxes, tears or pain. All of which are true. But we carry the idea a bit further saying that golfers will play golf. Fisherman will fish and numerous other activities are noted that loved ones enjoyed in this life and will enjoy in heaven. These thoughts bring comfort during a difficult time but have no basis in scripture.

4. We are equal to angels

Angels are immortal and we like them will experience immortality. I don’t have a clue about what type of body we will have in heaven. Wings or no wings take your pick.

5. We are sons and daughters of God

We have the opportunity to have a relationship with God on earth by accepting his gift of salvation. We have a relationship with God in heaven. We fall asleep in death and awake in the presence of God. Quick note here Vatican II did not set aside the Churches teaching on purgatory.

Heaven is not about what we do but who we are. Heaven is about relationship. We experience a relationship with God on earth and that relationship carries on in heaven.

No relationship with God on earth, none in heaven. This life is about preparing for eternity. Are you getting ready for heaven?

Heaven is about experiencing God in a way not possible in this life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Santa Is Already in town!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

I am probably the only person concerned with Santa’s early arrival. I don’t have an issue with Saint Nick but it seems Santa arrives earlier each year. A local mall is proudly announcing Santa’s arrival on November 10th.

You have got to be kidding me. Maybe we should celebrate Christmas on the fourth of July. I think combining these two holidays could be a boost to both days. Not much patriotism these days and Christmas is not what it used to be. It’s no longer the celebration of the birth of Christ. Celebrating the savior’s birth is no longer politically correct. In stead of merry Christmas and happy New Year it’s happy holidays. Happy holidays give me a break.

Well we must be considerate of others beliefs and be careful not to offend. I wondered today if anyone was even slightly concerned with my feelings or faith. The answer is no.

I have never been called and asked by a TV pollster what programs I watch on a regular basis. Or which programs I think should be cancelled. I have never been questioned about my political views. And I have never been asked if I have been offended by the fact that Christmas has been reduced to happy holidays.

Well you bet I am offended, and tired of the birth of the Lord being used to set the cash registers humming for a commercial holiday. No religious symbols in schools, no merry Christmas.

And sad to say we Christians have done very little to stem the tide of political correctness. We are guilty of saying happy holidays instead of merry Christmas. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

So where do we go from hear. Well may I suggest we start by putting Christ back in Christmas? Celebrate advent preparing for the coming of the Lord. Teach your children the true meaning of Christmas. Santa has his place, but keep in mind Santa cannot forgive sin. Santa brings gifts but the gift of eternal life is not in his bag.

My prayer for all this Christmas is that we find the peace joy and love only Christ can bring.

Merry Christmas