Daily Archives: December 27, 2010

Movie recommendation: The King's Speech

The whole family here went last evening–it was simply stellar.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Movies & Television

Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Florida's Krome detainees

Jesus Christ was born in a humble stable because there was no place for him at the inn. And later, according to Christian scripture, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt with the baby, seeking refuge from King Herod’s decree to kill all newborns.

That was the Christmas tale Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski presented Saturday to 150 undocumented immigrants at the Krome detention center, using the Bible narrative as a metaphor for the immigrants’ travails.

“We are sure Joseph was not delayed trying to obtain a visa to cross the border,” said Wenski, who officiated at an emotional Mass in Spanish, English and Creole. “That is why we can say that Jesus was a refugee and an undocumented immigrant.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry, Roman Catholic

(Boston Globe) Behind bars, a cardinal’s quiet prison ministry

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley was just out of seminary when his friary sent him to serve as chaplain at the Butler, Pa., county prison. His first task was to preach to the inmates, but he had never given a sermon before, much less to such a tough crowd. He consulted his preaching textbook, which advised: “Speak into the horizons of your congregation.’’

Inspired, O’Malley gave a lively account of the Bible’s great escape stories: Daniel and the lion’s den, St. Paul escaping over the walls of Damascus in a basket, St. Peter in chains. The inmates listened, rapt.

“The problem was, that night, several prisoners escaped from the prison,’’ O’Malley said with a laugh during a recent interview. “And I was afraid my first sermon was going to be my last. The superior was very unhappy.’’

O’Malley went on to become a well-regarded homilist; in a quieter way, he has also continued ministering to prisoners….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Prison/Prison Ministry, Roman Catholic

(AP) Pope invites poor to post-Christmas lunch at Vatican

Lasagna, veal and cake were on the menu Sunday as Pope Benedict invited about 250 poor people to join him for a post-Christmas lunch and denounced as “absurd” new attacks on the faithful around the globe.

Joining the Pope and his guests were some 250 nuns, seminarians and priests of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity order, which runs soup kitchens around Rome.

Last year, Benedict travelled to a Rome soup kitchen to join the poor but this year’s meal was held inside the Vatican’s main audience hall.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Christmas Message From the Franciscan Custos of Holy Land

Let us not make vain this Christmas which comes for the umpteenth time, but which is always new.

Because Christmas cannot fail to make us uncomfortable: it is a celebration that seems to have lost its most intimate and truest meaning, and that leads us to wonder who that Child is for us, to see God in a child, to believe in a God who chooses to enclose his greatness in the smallness of our humanity.

For Christmas is not Jesus who was born in Bethlehem just over two thousand years ago. Christmas is Jesus, the Son of God, who again this year, like every day since that ancient time — for the men of his time, as for each of us today — waits for us to make room for him, waits to be born in our hearts. Christmas is an effort of conversion. It is being willing to respond to God’s waiting.

As we are summoned by faith to wait for him in glory, Christmas fixes our attention on God: his infinite wait for humanity to find room for him in daily history, in everyday life, in the ordinary solidarity that Jesus himself asked of us….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Middle East, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

The Jerusalem Patriarch's Christmas Message

We were very concerned about the fire that destroyed entire forests in the Haifa area. We offer our condolences to the families of victims, and our admiration for the courage of those who died in the line of duty. This sad event made us experience international solidarity. The fact that the Palestinian Authority made available their team of firefighters was a very significant gesture and may be a beginning of a fruitful collaboration in the future, when peace will be established in this troubled land.

We suffer from the failure of direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This should not lead us to despair. We continue to believe that on both sides, and in the international community, there are men of good will who will work and put their energies together in their commitment for peace. We believe that nothing is impossible with God and we want to carry out the wishes sang by the angels on Christmas night: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”(Lk.2 :14) We also wish Europe to play a more significant role in this process.

We were shocked and troubled by the massacre of Christians in Baghdad in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help….

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Middle East, Religion & Culture, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

The Right Way to Approach Christmas

No one can celebrate a genuine Christmas without being truly poor. The self-sufficient, the proud, those who, because they have everything, look down on others, those who have no need even of God””for them there will be no Christmas. Only the poor, the hungry, those who need someone to come on their behalf, will have that someone. That someone is God, Emmanuel, God-with-us. Without poverty of spirit, there can be no abundance of God.

–Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Christmas, Christology, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Other Churches, Roman Catholic, Theology

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Christmas message 2010

From here:

Christmas 2010 – the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The children born this decade are 21st century citizens. They never knew the last century. In another ten years they and their friends will be judging us 20th century types. That’s what happened a hundred years ago when the twentieth century people passed a savage judgment on the nineteenth century, the Victorian era they called it.

What will they say? They won’t be too happy at our reckless consumption, our materialism. They will look back in wonder at our brutal wars. They will be astonished that we allowed family life to decay and created a world of selfishness and aloneness. They will groan under the weight of looking after aged baby-boomers without friends or family. Perhaps they will find a lot to condemn in our legacy and if they can judge us, I suppose God will find it even more simple.

But I am filled with hope for them, and I won’t mind their criticisms. Human failure is not the end of the story. We can’t beat God that easily.

Each year will still end with Christmas until the end of time. Christmas says this: Our failures, our sins, are not the last word. Hope and peace with God are still possible. God is bigger than our failures. Christmas says this: Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world came to dwell among us, and save us from our failures. When we turn to him, we will find hope rekindled and peace restored. Happy and hopeful Christmas!

— Dr. Peter Jensen is Archbishop of Sydney

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

O Magnum Mysterium (Morten Lauridsen)

The words:

O magnum mysterium, et admirable sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentum in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera meruerunt portare Dominum Christum. Alleluia!

O great mystery, and wondrous sacrament, that animals should see the newborn Lord, lying in their manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb was worthy to bear the Lord Jesus Christ. Alleluia!

This is sung by the University of Santo Tomas Alumni Singers directed by Allan Diona Sims. My understanding is that this performance is in 2006 at the Hollywood Choir Festival, at the Hollywood United Methodist Church across from the Kodak Theater.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Music

Ring out, wild bells

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

–Lord Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Poetry & Literature

The Archbishop of York: Do not Be Afraid

That message of the angel is for each one of us: “Don’t be afraid”. Forthe missing, such as Madeline McCann, Claudia Lawrence and their parents: “Don’t be afraid!” For children in our own country who suffer at the hands of those who should care for them: ‘”Don’t be afraid!” For the downtrodden in our world: “Don’t be afraid.”

Why? Because two thousand years ago in King David’s city, a Saviour was born for us all, He is Christ the Lord. And he invites us to go and be angels in our communities till a new day dawns.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons

The Bishop of Europe’s Christmas Message of 2010

Not long ago I came across a Christmas meditation by Michael Stancliffe, a fine preacher whose ministry encompassed time as Speaker’s Chaplain in the House of Commons, and later as Dean of Winchester. In this meditation he points out that the Christmas story is concerned with small things.

”˜At the heart of it is a human being at its smallest, and that newborn child is surrounded by no greatness ”“ no palace, no pomp, no grand people. Nor had the first to join that little group anything impressive about them ”“ shepherds on night duty don’t look princely ”“ and it was only later that more imposing personages put in an appearance. Christians believe that what happened in that small setting was of cosmic significance.’

The birth of Jesus at Bethlehem which we celebrate at Christmas is the burning glass which concentrates in the vulnerable fragility of a new-born child the immensity of the Divine Love by which all things were made and which holds the vastness of the universe in being. What is God like? God is like ”“ indeed God is ”“ this totally dependent, tiny bundle of life….

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Christmas, Church of England (CoE), Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, CoE Bishops

A Prayer for Christmas

Most merciful God, who hast so loved the world as to give thine only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life: Vouchsafe unto us, we humbly pray thee, the precious gift of faith, whereby we may know that the Son of God is come; and, being rooted and grounded in the mystery of the Word made flesh, may have power to overcome the world, and gain the blessed immortality of heaven; through the merits of the same incarnate Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end.

–Book of Common Order

Posted in Uncategorized

Holy Child

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My heart for very joy doth leap,
My lips no more can silence keep,
I too must sing, with joyful tongue,
That sweetest ancient cradle song,
Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto man His Son hath given
While angels sing with pious mirth.
A glad new year to all the earth.

–Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Christmas, Church Year / Liturgical Seasons, Poetry & Literature

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Stephen

We give thee thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand: where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology, Theology: Scripture