Monday Message, December 6, 2021

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This week sees the second installment of our face-to-face quarterly meetings with faith formation leaders. Please sign up if you are attending. Our speaker will be Ela Milewska from the Archdiocese of New York.

Documents That (Still) Matter is postponed from this week to a later date due to scheduling conflict with the presenter.

Next week please join us for the conversation on gender identity. Roy Petitfils will lead our discussion at St. Catherine of Siena in Trumbull on December 14th from 9 am until 12:30 pm. Email to sign up. For complete details, see memo for gender identity conversation.


Our technological world likes things to fit neatly together. We expend energy to get results, we invest time for promised returns. Careful planning intends to eliminate surprises. Sunday’s readings describe a God who likes the unexpected, a people who should enjoy divine surprise.

The Book of Baruch was written by an anonymous author perhaps as late as the fourth century B.C. The writer sees the return of the exiles in 538 B.C. as a catalyst for envisioning a great future. Jerusalem will cast off the widow’s weeds and will take a new name, “Righteous Peace, Godly Glory” (verse 4). Yahweh will be at the head of this jubilant procession. God’s surprise will be this gift of victory.

Psalm 126 is a communal lament that captures the joy of Israel’s return from exile and her earnest prayer for help in a new predicament. The people survey their desolate land and encounter the hostility of the local population. The experience of the return gives the former exiles the ability to contrast the tearful sowing with the abundant harvest. This is a God who discovers another opportunity to transform disaster into success.

Luke introduces the passing of one age and the start of another. This is the boundary between the time of Israel and the time of Jesus. Luke presents John as a prophet called by God to make ready the way of the Lord. John announces God’s new intervention in human history. There is a surprise as well: this intervention is for all, Jew and Gentile alike.

By accepting a God of surprise, we make hope possible for all people.


Mom is fading and I am heading to Knoxville later this week. Dementia has taken hold and there is no guarantee she will even recognize her ninth child. As we prepare to celebrate the child born of a strong, generous woman, may I be so bold as to ask for your prayers for another strong, generous, albeit complicated woman and the son she raised.


Cover image photo by Gareth Harper on Unsplash