Sunday, December 31, 2006

Just for Today - DECMBER 31, 2006

On this Holy Family weekend that ushers in the new year I have some suggestions for resolutions. They come under the title of, “Just for today”.

Just for today I will strengthen my mind and will learn something useful.
I will not be mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.
Just for today I will be unafraid. Especially I will be unafraid to be happy to enjoy what is beautiful, to love and believe that those I love really love me.
Just for today I will have a quiet half hour all by myself; and in the half hour I will give thanks to Almighty God for the abundance that is mine.

As the year ends I give thanks to all of you for your generous gifts, encouraging words and numerous prayers. May God guide St. Luke’s parish in 2007.
Fr. Bob Hawkins - DECMBER 31, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Discover God in our Human Experience - DECEMBER 24, 2006

For years we have heard the saying, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” In many ways this is a difficult task due to the crass materialism all around us. It’s hard to keep Christ in Christmas when we are surrounded by war, brokenness, and despair. Yet not only are we challenged to keep Christ in Christmas we also must take Him out of Christmas. By this I mean we must take His values to the world. Christ left the manger in Bethlehem, so must we. Christ went about doing good, so must we. Christ dedicated Himself to non-violence, so must we. Christ lived a life of service, so must we. Christ gave His life so that His Father’s love could come to the world, so must we. Christmas is about an incarnate God taking on our humanity. May we discover our God in our human experience.

A big thank you to all who help us celebrate Christmas here at St. Luke’s: Steve Kirby, David Lauria and the choirs, our lectors, Eucharistic ministers, altar servers, our environment committee, our Vincent DePaul society. Our Advent has been one of watching, waiting and serving. Now we are ready to celebrate the love of Christ in our midst.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - DECEMBER 24, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Finding God in our midst - DECEMBER 16, 2006

In the first reading this weekend of Zephaniah the prophet proclaims: “The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior, he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in His love.” The Advent season calls us to a responsive attentiveness to this presence of God in our midst. Where will you encounter God today? Where will I? How shall we draw near? A modern prophet, Archbishop Oscar Romero, reminded the world that there is one rule we can use if God is near or far away from us: the measure of our concern for the poor. Those who have concern fore the lowest and least ones know the God who is close at hand. What we do to the poor we do to God. The way we look at them is the way we look at God. The crowds today ask John the Baptist, “What might we do?” John’s answers are customized to the particular circumstances of the questioners. In a sense John is saying bloom where you are planted. Bear the good fruit of loving and caring for others within your local circumstance. May we hear and respond to the challenge of finding God in our midst.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - DECEMBER 16, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

We are Called - DECEMBER 9, 2006

As I write these reflections on Sunday afternoon I have just come in from the Advent wreath workshop in the Church hall. What a joy it was to see over 50 families making Advent wreaths. The family is the Church in miniature. Our goal at St. Luke’s is to strengthen our parish by strengthening family life. It is important to especially pass on seasonal customs that can foster Catholic identity. A big thank you to Kim Andsager and Victoria Sever who organized the event with other members of the young mother’s group.

This weekend members of our parish’s finance committee will give the annual report. I believe we have been wise stewards of the treasure shared with the parish. Financial donations provide us with the resources needed to develop ministries here at St. Luke’s.

During the Advent season we are called to be mindful of the needy. Here is a reflection from the Office of Community Services and Advocacy here in our Diocese:

“As we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth, let us remember all the children who are born to us somewhere in the world every day who suffer from poverty, hunger, and disease, who are our sisters and brothers, who are the least among us, whom Jesus taught us to love.

Christ was born into a marginalized community, a child whose family had no voice in the economic and political structures of that time and place. Advent can be a time to reflect on this fact and on the ‘option for the poor’, which is so central to Catholic teaching.

Where do we hear the voices of the poor and marginalized today, the victims of global economic forces that can inflict terrible suffering? Can we accept the challenge to spend at least part of our Christmas preparation time considering the plight of those in poverty in the contemporary world?

Are we willing to look more deeply into the plight of the poor, or do we dismiss them by giving a few ‘holiday’ donations and then turning back to our exclusive communities to ‘celebrate’ Christmas?

How can we authentically celebrate Jesus’ birth by listening to and welcoming those outside of our usual communities? How can we grow in understanding about the structures that must be TRANSFORMED, as Catholic teaching declares, to bring justice to those?”

Fr. Bob Hawkins - DECEMBER 9, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

A new Liturgical Year - DECEMBER 2, 2006

This week we celebrate the beginning of the liturgical year. We begin as always with Advent where we both celebrate Christ’s birth and anticipate the second coming. This powerful season celebrates a truth about God. We believe that through the revelation of God in human and divine infant, all of creation is reconciled to God. The words of the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” speak our story. We long for ransom from the shackles that bind us to certain ways of living. We long to be saved as a community and a nation from oppression and the lure of cultural seductions that place us in exile from God’s love and friendship.
During Advent we offer many opportunities to live our faith. Giving Tree donations, toy drives, Advent visits to homes, the Sacrament of Penance, the Cantata on December 18 are just some of the events we offer for us to prepare the way of the Lord in our lives. Notice the richness of God’s word during this season. I end with one of my favorite biblical quotes, “The Lord, your God is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness and revere you in His love.” (Zephaniah 1, 5)

Fr. Bob Hawkins - DECEMBER 2, 2006