Tag Archives: Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Vigil Mass

To watch Fr. Joe’s Homily from the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass: CLICK HERE!

I saw a Peanuts cartoon this week, with Charlie Brown and Linus sitting next to each other.  Charlie Brown says, “maybe this is not the Christmas to ask for everything we want, Linus.” And he then continues, “Maybe this year we just need to be thankful for all we have.”

Words of Wisdom for sure.

It’s been a tough 9 months due to the Pandemic and although there is a light at the end of the tunnel, it is a very long tunnel we will need to walk thru in the coming months before we reach the end of it.

So keep wearing a mask, socially distancing, keep washing hands, avoiding large groups… And, I know that once it becomes available, I will be getting a vaccine.

What’s this all have to do with Christmas and the birth of Jesus?

The time of Jesus was a difficult time to be living for many reasons and it was a time when people were looking, waiting for the one who is to come… Much like our situation at present.

Remember what the Disciples of John the Baptist said to Jesus, “Are you the one or are we to look for another?”  Jesus was the one!

Jesus was the light in time of darkness…

Jesus was the hope of people in their troubles, needs and wants…

Jesus was the promise made flesh: Emmanuel, God with us.

And this Christmas, like the first Christmas, we too are reminded that Jesus is the one. Jesus in our hope, our light, our life for our time also.

Like the Jesus who asked his followers – Do you believe?  We too say, as they did, “Yes, Lord, you know that I believe.”

As we know, there is more.  Our words of faith, hope and love need to become flesh… they need to be seen.

Maybe this Christmas is the year to look back and see how the Son of God, Jesus the light of the world, came into our lives and the lives of other bringing comfort and joy, hope, compassion, forgiveness, caring and sharing and so much more during these pandemic days.

Hopefully, Christmas reminds us again that God’s love and care are not a once a year holiday, but proof that the promised one – Emmanuel: God with Us – continues to enter our world and the lives of others through our “God-like” actions of faith, hope and love, yesterday, today and tomorrow, as person, family and church.

God blesses us… May we be that same blessing to others now and always!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve Vigil Mass

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily from the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass: CLICK HERE! 

We all know and have sung the Christmas classic “Do You Hear What I Hear ?”  And just maybe many of us have assumed this Christmas song has been around for years and it is of European origins.

But you would be mistaken – Grasshopper.

It was written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a powerful plea for peace by a man who had experienced the horrors of the Second World War, which haunted him in life.  The man’s name was:  Noel Regney, from France.

After the Second World War, he worked in France as Musical Director and in 1952 he moved to Manhatten (NYC)…  There he  composed music for many early TV shows and commercial jingles, in addition to writing serious musical compositions.

In the late ’50s, Noel Regney married pianist Gloria Shayne after knowing her for only a few weeks.  Gloria wrote many popular songs recorded by well-known singers, including “Goodbye Cruel World” (James Darren’s recording peaked at number three on the Billboard charts) and “The Men in My Little Girl’s Life” (recorded by Mike Douglas).

Said the daughter of her parents, “my mother’s work tends to be more pop; my father’s is more classical and avant-garde.”  When her parents collaborated, she says, “Usually, my mother wrote the words and my father wrote the music.” But they did the opposite when they composed “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Here is how it came to be:

In October 1962, the Soviet Union and the United States were involved in a crisis centered on missiles the Russians had installed in Cuba. The United States threatened military action if the missiles were not removed.  The world trembled and prayed as these two nuclear powers stood eyeball-to-eyeball.

That October, as Noel Regney walked through the streets of New York, a sense of despair was in the air.  No one smiled.  Noel Regney had endured the horrors of war.  He knew the fear and terror of being close to death.  The safe and secure life he had built for himself in the United States was being threatened.

Christmas, which was supposed to be a time of peace and goodwill, was approaching.  Noel Regney had been asked by a record producer to write a holiday song.  Noel Regney shared, “on my way my home, I saw two mothers with their babies in strollers.  The little angels were looking at each other and smiling.  All of a sudden, my mood was extraordinary.”

A glimpse of these babies reminded (Noel Regney) of newborn lambs.  Thus, the song begins, “Said the night wind to the little lamb…”

As soon as Noel arrived home, he jotted down the lyrics. Then he asked Gloria to write the music to accompany his words.

There have been over 100 versions of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” but Noel Regney’s personal favorite was a recording by Robert Goulet, who nearly shouted out the line, “Pray for peace, people, everywhere.”  But it was the Bing Crosby 1963 recording that brought Noel Regney and Gloria Shayne’s song of peace to the nation’s attention.

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” carried a beautiful message close to people in all walks of life.    It became a popular Christmas carol, “a song high above the tree, with a voice as big as the sea.”  But the message of peace was lost on many people.

“I am amazed that people can think they know the song and not know it is a prayer for peace,” Noel Regney once told an interviewer.  “We are so bombarded by sounds and our attention spans are so short.”

Let us hope and pray that, when it is sung in churches worldwide during the Christmas season, this song of peace will remind us that “the Child, the Child sleeping in the night” came to “bring us goodness and light.”

May the Prince of Peace bring you peace today and every day and may we bring the peace of Christ to one another, all others in word and deed today and in the days to come.


To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for Christmas: CLICK HERE!

Have you ever wondered what the most popular verse in the Bible is?  (Hint: you’ve seen the biblical verse at times at professional sporting events!)

If you thought it’s John 3:16 you are correct my friend.  John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that we might have eternal life.”

Today on this Christmas 2018, we celebrate the love of God, we celebrate the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ, we celebrate the birth of our friend – Jesus Christ.

To use the title of a current TV show, God Friended Me, not just us, but each one of us, each one of you…

Ratings for God Friended Me are not the best, seems not many people are watching. This seemingly speaks to the culture of today that seems to see God as not really relevant to the lives we live, most of the time… How unfortunate…

The premise of God Friended Me is pretty good.  Miles, who is an Atheist, is at odds with his father who is a Minister.  Then one day, Miles’ life is turned upside down when he receives a friend request on social media from a user named “God.”  Eventually, he accepts and starts digging into his new friend’s account, convinced it is a hoax.  With some friends and partners, Miles devotes himself to uncovering the truth by playing along with the new found social media friend, “God,” but in the process, Miles begins to see his life changed forever.

I would like to suggest this Christmas 2018, we are being reminded that God has friended us, not only 2000 years ago, not only at our Baptisms… but every day and forever more.

And like all those people we have accepted as friends throughout the years and even on social media, friendship is a two way street.  We all need to keep our friendships current, growing and alive.

We all are aware of how life sometimes gets in the way of our friendships and other relationships at times, or more times than we would like to admit.

Just maybe this Christmas is requesting from us that we make an effort to give some time and effort to the relationships and friendships of life that we have with family and friends and with God, not now and then, but on a regular and consistent basis!

God and many people have “friended” us… May our friendships with God and others continue to change all our lives for the better and forever and ever AMEN.

Christmas Eve Vigil Mass

To watch Father Joe’s homily from the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass: CLICK HERE! 

Christmas can remind us of so many things and people.  Peace on Earth, lit trees, wrapped and unwrapped presents, red and green decorations, laughter with family and friends, and then a silent night of some 2000 years ago.

The words, “Be not afraid,” proclaimed to the Shepherds in today’s Gospel begs the question, “What is it that we should not be afraid of?”

The answer is quite simple… do not be afraid to love!

Do not be afraid to open our hearts to others, to forgive, to embrace the blessings God sends our way.

The Miracle of Christmas, the greatest act of love ever revealed to the world, involved a YES, when Jesus embraced His Father’s request that he become flesh and blood to save a broken world.

But what you and I celebrate as people of faith at Christmas is the reality that GOD is HERE, present among us, working within us, NOW.

So maybe this Christmas 2017, we might ask ourselves how will we allow the YES of Jesus, the YES of so many people of faith who have gone before us, to shape our lives so that the gift of Christmas is not forgotten or lost after a day or even a season.

Saying YES cannot be a one time act.  The love of God, the love of others, our love continues… love grows and keeps giving!

This Christmas, may we have the courage to chose love.  To resist the fear for opening our hearts to love Jesus, to say YES to the miracles that He places into small moments of every day.

May we never regret sharing God’s love with others, and may we be awed at the many blessing that will be showed upon us, not only at Christmas, but throughout our lives as person, family and people.

GOD is HERE, present among us; working within us, NOW.

Let the miracle of Christmas continue through our lives of faith, hope and love forever and ever, amen.

Christmas Mass

Scripture Readings:   Isaiah 9:1-6;     Titus 2:11-14;     Luke 2:1-14

“Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.” – Says humorist: Dave Barry.

Obviously, Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts to the greatest gift:  Jesus.

Christmas is about God’s love for all people; Christmas is about the Word of God coming to life in Jesus.

Someone shared in recent days, that we need to celebrate Christmas every year, lest we forget our need for God in our lives, lest we forget that God does come into our lives every day – not just at Christmas.

Pope Francis in recent days shared that, “God passes into our lives often, God sends angels to us, yet often we miss the opportunity for grace because we are too preoccupied, immersed in our thoughts, in our affairs and so much more, to realize that Jesus knocks at the door of our heart, asking for welcome.

How do we know Lord wants to come into our lives as a person, family and parish?

When we feel or say to ourselves:  I want to be a better person;  I am sorry for what I said or did; I want to be closer to others; I want to be closer to God… This is the Lord wanting to come into our lives.

Says Pope Francis, “please do not let the Lord pass by;   welcome him into your life.  Make room for the Lord in your life every day.”

Deep within everyone is the desire to share gifts with others and whether your shopping is done or you are waiting for the after Christmas sales to buy your gifts, let me end with some Christmas gift suggestions:

  • To your enemy – give forgiveness
  • To an opponent – give tolerance
  • To a friend – give your heart
  • To a customer – give service
  • To all – give charity
  • To every child – give a good example
  • To yourself – give respect

May we open the doors of our hearts and lives to Christ, this Christmas and every day of our graced lives!