The universal joy of Christmas is certainly wonderful. We ring the bells when princes are born, or toll a mournful dirge when great men pass away. Nations have their red-letter days, their carnivals and festivals, but once in the year and only once, the whole world stands still to celebrate the advent of a life.
I was up early to watch a few NFL football games on NFL GamePass...
The Lions won the early game 20- 14, setting up a showdown next week in Green Bay.
I then spent the rest of the day working on some homilies (for the next few days) and reports.
I will be taking off tomorrow morning to spend Christmas with some special alumni of the medical college in Hangzhou. There should be about 75 of us and I have been looking forward to this trip for a long time. I won't be posting on this blog until I return on Saturday the 27th of December.
Fr. Elmer Wurth has been back in Hong Kong saying goodbye to many, many friends.
Classmates: Fr. Elmer Wurth and Fr. Bill Galvin
Elmer was the celebrant at the community mass this morning before taking off for HKIA and his trip back to Ohio.
Fr. Mike Sloboda was here this morning and stayed for lunch.
China's patience with North Korea seems to be running thin these days.
Hong Kong's former No. 2 official was just found guilty of misconduct in office (bribery) in a trial that suggested in vivid detail the cozy relationship between the city’s business elite and career officials who rose through the ranks of the British colonial government. Mr. Hui said he longed to maintain a lavish lifestyle — complete with a luxury apartment, a mistress from Shanghai and sumptuous French meals — while a public servant in what is one of the world’s most expensive cities. Sun Hung Kai Properties, one of the world’s biggest companies of its kind, was said to be happy to oblige as it sought his favors, showering Mr. Hui with millions of dollars in payments, which prosecutors claimed was an effort to make him their “eyes and ears” in the government.
Where will Captain Jim coach next year? Lets home the place he chooses begins with an M.
Some Christmas music:
Celine Dion and O Holy Night
O Come All Ye Faithful
Tomorrow's gospel and some comments:
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, "No; he is to be called John." They said to her, "None of your relatives has this name." Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John." And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, "What then will this child become?" For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1: 57-66
In celebrating the memory of the saints, the Liturgy doesn’t celebrate their birthday but usually the day of their death. There are only two exceptions: Mary the mother of Jesus, and John the Baptist. John gets preferential treatment in the Liturgy, which gives him two feast-days a year.
His humility has deeply impressed Christians through the ages. Before anyone had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, people were coming distances to see John the Baptist. Yet he pointed to Jesus and away from himself. “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). John actually encouraged his disciples to leave him and to follow the Lamb of God.
He seems a grim figure; his dress and his way of speaking were equally rough. Yet the gospels associate him with joy. At the presence of Jesus and Mary, he leapt for joy in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44); and referring to him, Jesus said, “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice” (John 3:29). The source of his joy was probably the humility that so characterized him. With power and success there comes a certain greedy satisfaction, but humility is spacious enough to contain joy. “My spirit rejoices in God my savior,” cried Mary, “He looks on his servant in her lowliness” (Luke 1:46-47).
Humility is not a fashionable virtue today; it would be seen rather as a condition calling for therapy – something that could probably be traced back to an unhappy childhood. But the mere sight of John the Baptist ought to be enough to dispel that view.