In a funny kind of “lost in translation” moment, a little boy was riding in a shopping cart as his mother wheeled through the aisles in one of those fancy, gourmet grocery stores. As they headed down a row offering a seemingly endless variety of bottled waters, one in particular caught the little boy’s attention. His mom removed it from the shelf and just as quickly put it back. “Oh no, Frankie,” she said. “We aren’t buying that one. It’s five dollars for just this one bottle!” The little boy, now more curious persisted. “Why is it so much?” he asked. His mother took a closer look. “Well I see here that is comes from Whales” (the country). “Ewwwweeee!” the little boy screamed. “You mean people drink that?”
Speaking of “lost in translation,” in the movie of the same name the character Bob Harris, played by actor Bill Murray, says this about his experience of raising children:
“It gets a whole lot more complicated when you have kids. The most terrifying day of your life is the day the first one is born. Your life, as you know it is gone. Never to return. But they learn how to walk, and they learn how to talk and you want to be with them. And they turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.” Well said, Mr. Harris, well said!
The story in today’s Lesson is one of only a few New Testament episodes in which Jesus, Mary and Joseph are together as a family. Raising their child in the very best way they know how, Mary and Joseph are following the prescribed religious ritual of presenting Him at the Temple, and offering a sacrifice to God. And in this context of family, the New Testament writer concludes the story with these words:
“When they had done everything the law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the Child grew to maturity, filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was with Him (Lk. 2:39-40).
This evokes the question for all Christian parents:
How to raise our children in a family environment which makes it possible for them to grow in wisdom? How can we nurture the Divine spark that is in them? How can we help build their self-esteem? How can we help to bring out the best in them?”
And the answer, of course, is to follow the example of the Holy Family; to become a holy family by loving one another in the radical new way of the Lord Jesus; to simply speak in love to one another. When you answer the question in this way, your children will turn out to be the most delightful people you will ever meet in your life.
So many of you have experienced this: You give your child away in marriage. Suddenly, God gives you a break, and you no longer see messy rooms and the late worrisome nights, or hear the shouts of rebellion. Suddenly, you realize that in your God given life you have known something of the mystery of Divine Love — that intense, unconditional love which nothing can shut out. And your child is transfigured before your eyes, so completely that it reinforces your belief in the wonder and glory of God.
What parent among us has not invested hopes and dreams that her or his child’s future might be filled with meaning? As one parent has written …
“Just as the gentle flutter of a butterfly’s wings can change the path of a hurricane, so the gentle beat of a child’s heart can change the destiny of the world. Children are our future and our hope. Only they determine humanity’s progress.”
And so . . .
We must protect all children.
We must feed all children.
We must love all children.
We must teach all children that life’s true meaning and purpose will be reflected in the quality of their mercy and compassion toward one another.
And no matter if we intend it or not, our children will learn by our example, “Faith is never taught, it is caught!”
Peace and blessings!
Liturgical Music Corner by our Music Director, Rebecca Brown
Dec. 28, Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
I used to love to go on retreats to an Eastern rite monastery in the hills of Redwood Valley overlooking Ukiah. The beautiful and gentle chanting of the monks as they ended compline (night prayer) every evening still rings in my ears. It always ended with the “Nunc Dimittis”, the “Canticle of Simeon”, which is part of the official night prayer of the church, and is in today’s Gospel. If you have never prayed night prayer, this would be a beautiful prayer to start with:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace,
according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”
Christmas is about celebrating Jesus Christ, the light of the world, and welcoming Him into our hearts!
Songs for the 9 am Mass:
Processional Hymn: Angels We Have Heard on High (BB # 82)
Psalm 105: The Lord remembers his covenant forever.
Preparation of the Gifts: O Little Town of Bethlehem (BB # 97)
Communion Song: Silent Night (BB # 89)
Lullaby of the Dove, choir
Recessional Song: Hark the Herald Angels Sing (BB # 84)
BB = Breaking Bread SS = Song sheets
Our Christmas liturgies were truly beautiful and our choir would like to thank you all for celebrating with us! Thank you also to Fr. Luis for all his support for our music ministry. We want to welcome all visitors and encourage you to join us every Sunday as we worship together.
A special thank you to all who contributed to our music ministry expenses using the donation can in the back of the church. We appreciate your generosity! May God bless you!
Our Creche is a beautiful depiction of the Holy Family and a wonderful reminder to us of the humble circumstances of our King. As Pope Francis said at Christmas mass, “How much the world needs tenderness today!” he said. “God’s patience, God’s closeness, God’s tenderness.” Let us draw closer, crossing racial, economic, political divisions in our human family in the spirit of Christmas!
On behalf of St. Elizabeth’s Parish we thank Noelle Fahlen for her singing in the choir and her hospitality on behalf of the choir. Here she is on Christmas morning with her grandchildren. Later on I am going to photoshop her into the choir photo, she had left before we took it!
We wish happy and holy Christmas blessings for all our families at St. Elizabeth Parish. Here is Vera Bohan with her daughter after the Christmas morning mass. (I will provide the name of Vera’s daughter, senior moment, please excuse!)
The choir enjoyed a wonderful brunch hosted by Nicole Fahlen after mass. After enjoying the delicious food and beverages, the group had fun singing rounds and spirituals, talked about the possibility of a choir school at St. Elizabeth’s, and enjoyed fellowship. What a blessing this group is to St. Elizabeth’s – after all the work they have done this December they are still singing and filled with joy! Music ministry is such a joyful enterprise, we are excited for the new year and hope the music brings you closer to God, provides inspiration for your faith.
Thank you St. Elizabeth’s choir for making our services so beautiful and joyous!