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I am a Third Order Franciscan of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The end of the Christmas season

I am always confused as to whether or not "ordinary time" begins officially today or yesterday. Yesterday was "the Baptism of the Lord" but next Sunday is the second Sunday in Ordinary time. I don't really know what happened to the first Sunday. We took down the Christmas tree this morning and the Nativity scene in the Chapel has been boxed away for another year.

It can be quite time consuming to get those figurines all wrapped up protectively so I would like to suggest that someone think about producing inflatable nativity scenes. They would be cheap and easily stored. I'm really surprised that no one has marketed them yet. Perhaps they seem too tacky but I don't know if they are any more tacky than some of the Christmas decorations I have seen. Better yet, inflatable nativity scenes would be much better than risking high priced and irreplacable Fontini figures especially in a home with small children or excitable pets.

On a more serious note, I was responsible for the homily this morning and thought I would share some of it as we enter into Ordinary Time.

The Christmas season is over and the Nativity scenes are all packed away. For the past few weeks we have celebrated Christ's coming with scripture readings that left no doubt that the Father had sent his Son - the angels sang praise, the shepherds announced Christ's coming, John the Baptist pointed him out, and the Father and Son made him known. Now we must decide how we will respond.

Indeed, here on the first day after the end of the Christmas season. Christ is already asking us to "Repent and believe inthe Gospel" and to "Come follow me". No more signs are needed for those who already believe and, truly, what miracle can be greater that God's gift of his very self? Our response to that gift will show more about our faith than the most beautiful nativity scene.

The command to "Repent and believe in the Gospel" seems to make us move immediately from Christmas into Lent. Yet, it seems to me that Ordinary Time is not that time in the Church year free of all associations with Christmas or Easter but, rather, that time of the year at which Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter are all equally present. Christ has come and therefore we respond with repentence. Christ will come again and so therefore we prepare ourselves with repentence. God has shown himself faithful to his promises in the Incarnation and the Resurrection, now he calls us to be faithful to him.

Truly every day the Father offers us the Son and every day Christ seeks from us a response. How will we respond today?


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