From the Pastor’s Desk

Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

Dec 24/25, 2023

“For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.”
-Luke 2:11

 

Brothers and Sisters,

In an abrupt moment, I’m as alert as a child, realizing it’s Christmas morning. However, this awakening lacks the usual excitement; instead, I’m filled with nervousness and confusion about what to do next. My car has just collided with an SUV on the inner loop of 695. Although the SUV may appear to have suffered only a minor fender bender, my car’s condition tells a different, though not entirely wrecked, story.

As a high school senior driving to school, maintaining alertness that morning had been a challenge. Thankfully, the lady involved proved helpful, and we exchanged information and insurance details courteously. Briefly, anxiety crept in as I contemplated the impending interaction with my father. Having caused less damage in previous incidents as a child, I anticipated the temper I might face. I even entertained the thought of being grounded, with the potential for repercussions almost 30 years later.

Contrary to my apprehensions, it became evident that my father’s primary concern transcended the condition of his car. Instead, he prioritized our well-being, mine and that of the person I collided with. Then, in a remarkable display of his excellent interpersonal skills, my dad adeptly navigated through the intricacies that typically ensue after an accident with gratitude that all involved emerged unharmed, mainly due to the protective presence of our guardian angels.

This reminds me of another story about angels, car wrecks, and a father’s love — the classic Christmas film directed by Frank Capra called ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ where the protagonist of the story, George Bailey’s car may be wrecked, his mouth may be bloody (again), and he might be unable to fix the petals that have fallen from his sick daughter’s flower, but, he still finds a new “lease” on life. Like the image of withered leaves that are unable to survive detached from a tree that the prophet Isaiah gave us a few weeks back, George realizes the importance of holding onto (and appreciating) the precious moments in life despite the brokenness and wounds that exist in the world. Even though George can’t fix everything, he finds joy in God’s abundant blessings: the unconditional love of his family and friends and the beauty of the world around him, especially in his hometown of Bedford Falls.

This film serves as a reminder that our angels are always there to help and that God always has an answer. That’s what makes life truly wonderful! God has entered this world and is working towards restoring those of us who have fallen from His grace. Despite our concerns that the Lord’s coming may signal trouble, time and time again, His mercy and compassion are evident as He works to heal and restore our relationship with Him. May the Lord give us and our families a glimpse of His g

In the Lord,

Rev. Michael S. Triplett

Going on at OLPH:

CHURCH TOUR & NATIVITY VISIT – St. Casimir and St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church tours and Nativity scenes – This year is the 800th anniversary of the first-ever Nativity scene made by St. Francis of Assisi in Greccio, Italy. Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence (usual conditions apply) for all Catholics who pray in front of a Nativity scene at a Franciscan church between Dec. 8 and Feb. 2. St. Casimir, 1036 S. Kenwood Avenue, and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, 2700 E. Baltimore Street, are both Franciscan churches and both will have Nativity scenes available for prayer during the Advent and Christmas seasons. Tours of these beautiful and historic churches in southeast Baltimore will also be offered on Sunday, Dec. 24, at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth. All are welcome! For more information, visit http://stcasimir.org/wp-content/uploads/Detailed-Information-for-Nativity-Scenes-and-Church-Tours-Rev.-12-5-2023-2.pdf.

VISIONING WORKSHOP FOR SEEK THE CITY– The Seek the City team will host another Citywide Visioning Workshop on Sunday, Jan 7 at St. Matthew Parish from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. You are invited to attend this workshop or you may contact Geri Byrd at geri.byrd@archbalt.org or call 410-547-5318 for more information.

APOLOGY, HEALING, & ACTION – Please read Archbishop William Lori’s letter, where he addresses the depth of pain endured by victim-survivors, apologizes for the grievous harm they experienced, addresses healing, and how the Church of the past is no longer. The pastoral letter outlines the actions that have been taken over the last three decades, including mandatory reporting of all accusations to law enforcement, fingerprinting and background checks, volunteer and all-employee training, zero-tolerance policies, ongoing therapeutic care offered to all victim-survivors and much more. Please visit https://www.archbalt.org/apology-healing-action/

MEN‘S DISCERNMENT RETREAT –This retreat is intended for Catholic Men 18- 40. The weekend will include prayer, dynamic talks, fraternity, and time with seminarians and Archbishop William E. Lori. Location: St. Mary’s Seminary, 5400 Roland Ave. Baltimore, MD. Jan-5-7. Visit https://www.archbalt.org/vocations/ to learn more about this event.