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Saturday, December 21, 1996

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St. Peter Canisius

Song of Songs 2:8-14 or
Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalm 33
Luke 1:39-45

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the ghost of christmas past

"For see, the winter is past." —Song of Songs 2:11

On the first day of winter, the Church reads to us: "The winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth" (Sg 2:11-12). Is this the weather report for the Philippines, or is the Church out of touch with reality? By selecting this reading, the Church is saying that we who have eternal life in Christ transcend time in some way now, and will eventually transcend it completely forever. Although it's wintertime outside for most of us, by God's grace it can be springtime inside. Although Jesus died on the cross almost two thousand years ago, His sacrifice on Calvary is made present at every celebration of the Mass. How can the past be also the present? God's power makes this possible. Although time appears to be running out on us as we get older, the fact is that we're running out on time. Time will pass away, but we will live forever. If we live for Jesus, time will not have the last word in our lives; instead, Jesus will have the last word, for He is the eternal Word.

Many people feel the tyranny of time at Christmas time. They wish they had "Christmas past" when their spouses, parents, children, and friends were still alive. Even those having a so-called "merry Christmas" are sometimes haunted by the thought of this being their or a loved one's "last Christmas."

However, we don't have to be under such "time constraints." Jesus was conceived and born in time so that we can live beyond time. Life in Jesus is eternal life.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for putting the timeless in my heart (Eccl 3:11) and then sending Jesus to fulfill my heart's desires.

Promise:  "The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby leapt in my womb for joy." —Lk 1:44

Praise:  When Peter was transferred to pastor in Vienna, he preached in churches that were almost empty. He found a way to reach the people by constantly ministering to the sick and dying during a plague.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, June 20, 1996

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 26, 1996