Monday Message, December 11, 2023

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Our last parish leader check in for the year is tomorrow. Join us from this page. We’ll talk about the personal consecration, deanery meetings, and more.

Speaking of personal consecration – if you need more books, please contact Blythe directly. She can have books sent directly to your parish. Don’t forget to check out this page for all the details and to remind your families that this is coming.

Deanery meetings with Bishop Caggiano pick up again in the new year. The full list is here. No RSVP is required.

We have rescheduled our day with the bishop and the new directory. Please hold March 13, 2024. We will gather at the Catholic Center.

After the new year, formation for Readers and EMHCs will change slightly. You can see this memo for details and this graphic for more details.


At times, the hurried pace of our lives may at times obscure even the most dramatic reality — for example, the gift-giving presence of our God. Sunday’s readings speak of God’s nearness in our daily lives. The Scriptures capture moments when people were challenged to react to God’s presence. First, however, they had to become aware of God’s gifts, then they had to respond.

Around 540 B.C., Second Isaiah, the anonymous prophet of the exile, spoke to his despairing community. His opening words of comfort and tenderness reveal a God who, forgetting the past, offers the grace of the present moment. There had to be a march through the desert to the land of Israel; this trek would manifest God’s presence, to the utter amazement of the people. Even then, the people had to become aware of the moment!

In Psalm 85, the community asks for God’s presence. Putting aside all hesitation the psalmist announces that God proclaims peace to the people. To enjoy God’s gift of peace, however, the community must keep its covenant with Yahweh. It is just such a response, culminating in kindness, truth, and justice, that ushers in the blessing of the harvest.

Mark begins his gospel with the image of the desert. He quotes Second Isaiah to tell us that John the Baptist announces God’s unexpected gift of salvation in the desert. Like the ninth-century prophet Elijah, John wears a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt (see 2 Kings 1:8). God’s presence in the Baptist demands a response of radical conversion and of repentance.

God’s gifts appear not only in extraordinary events such as a return from exile or the coming of Jesus but also in ordinary day-to-day occurrences. The grace of friendship, the devotion of a spouse, the comfort of co-workers — all of these manifest God’s gifts. Our awareness of giftedness moves us to a personal response where love, support, and consolation are given as well as received.

Where will we find the generosity of God this week?