A Gift of Advent: Mercy

Last Saturday I wrote about forgiveness. I started out the post as a reflection on the readings from Scripture for the first week of Advent, noting how the readings did not seem to fit the mood of Christmas coming. The column explained that they weren’t meant to be – it’s Advent, a time of waiting and reflecting despite what the commercial world of commerce would have you believe. But maybe the draw of Christmas is too powerful. The column sort of morphed itself into the idea of forgiveness as the gift you give. The end of the post said: “What ‘Christmas gift’ comes along with this life of forgiveness? Lower blood pressure, restful night, sweet dreams, peace, no longer being a victim, uninterrupted prayer, a new experience of God’s love… and so much more. Your gift is waiting right there under the tree, the cross of Christ. Go ahead, open your gift. `Tis always the season.’” Continue reading

Shrinkflation

Over this last year we have all been aware that everyday products we buy are being packaged differently. We think, “at least this item’s cost hasn’t risen during this inflationary period.” But when we pick it up, we sense there is something different. It just “feels” different. With fresh produce we have a sense of what things cost per/lb – the same with meats, poultry and the like, but for packaged items we have only sense memory and intuition. Our intuition tells us the corporations are under the same inflationary pressures as everyone else and they have to pass on the costs. So why is this item the same price? At same time our sensory memory tells us that something is different. Continue reading

Together but Alone?

The high school youth minister at our parish publishes some great weekly reflections for the youth and their parents. I particularly liked the one published today. I read this reflection on the same day I read an article speaking with “Nones” – folks that are orthodox in Christian belief, but when asked what church they attend, their reply is none. There is a list of things absent in their experience of church – connecting Scripture and social justice, preaching that is relevant to their experience of life, several other items, but there in the list: “a friendly church.” It wasn’t “a welcoming church” but once the welcome was over, was the church friendly. In that context, I found Brandon Jubar’s words on point – what follows is from his post. Continue reading

Long lines

A friend recently visited Disney World with her family. Back in the day the time before Thanksgiving and then after Thanksgiving used to be days when the crowds were relatively small – small, in a Disney World kind of way. I guess that is no longer true. My friend mentioned that the wait time in line for one of the attractions was well more than an hour. If you are interested in such things, here is a video about long lines at Disney World. Continue reading