THE GIFT OF IMAGINATION
Rev. Robert F Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
December 23, 20l8
On the eve of Christmas we might take a few quiet moments and remember some of the great CHRISTMAS pasts and allow our imagination to come into life. Through our imagination we can travel many miles and see an army of sights without even leaving our home. Imagination is the key that unlocks the door to discovery. Imagination allows the hand of God to work in and through us, and not allow the stress and anxiety of these last moment activities get to us and ruin the deep real meaning of the peace and love of Christmas. Our Gospel of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth shows us that BEING Before Doing and to leave the doing to God in order to be true to who God wants us to be. Mary is receptive but not passive and allows God to work in her. As we have received freely so are we now called to give freely and share with others from the heart what God has given and does for us. The words of the Responsorial Psalm might be the best words to pray and reflect upon in these final hours and let our imagination go to work on a faith level. “Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.” Now is the time to pause and stop the struggling and find peace in quiet imagination and reflection. How great it might be for others if we, like Elizbeth in the Gospel, just bring out the blessedness of others. The very gift of being is so much taken for granted, and it might really require not only our imagination but a deep realization.  This is the importance of the person we are either doing for rather than worrying about buying or doing for that person.

A boy’s hand became stuck in his mom’s expensive pottery jar. To help, a neighbor said to the boy, “Stretch out your fingers” and the boy replied, “Then, I’ll’ lose my shooter marble.” Finally, the boy agreed and his hand came out and so did the marble. The mom’s jar was saved and so was the marble and all rejoiced. Sometimes we hold onto our gift so tightly that it keeps someone else from using his or her gift   We need to link our gifts together and using even the imagination and encouragement of the neighbor to stretch out your fingers bring great joy. Just imagine if in the next days you really allow the Lord Jesus to take over in your words, thoughts and actions? To clothe yourself with Him so others can see the Lord alive in our time and to show tender compassion, gentleness, extraordinary patience and quiet love.  Can you imagine what God will allow to happen in and through us then. Nothing is to small to be in God’s service. You are the one who can make the Lord present and it may just be a little lowly use of imagination that will lift up and uplift the joy and hope of others about your home.

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REJOICE PASS IT ON
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish
December l6. 2018
In the Christian Churches today is called Gaudete Sunday or Rejoice as the anticipation of the birth of Jesus is just around the corner. We celebrate this season with remembering the first coming with nativity sets, cards and statues that show us how the Promised Messiah came to men and women! With our decorations, purchasing gifts, and partying we are at a time of real joy.  Real joy wants to share joy!  It belongs to the nature of joy to communicate itself to others and to invite others to let gentle, loving joy enter their minds and hearts.  It is a week to give thanks to the Lord that we live in this Christian society where we can and do rejoice and it seems to touch all our lives.  Even with all the heavy newspaper ads, the added extra TV ads, or simple ads on your phone to buy, get and do and yet the real purpose of this week is just to REJOICE!  We rejoice in the fact that God became man, and God is with us in the love and the joy of each other.   Most of us do not have the courage or faith to put the Responsorial Psalm into existence but we can in our hearts and prayers say it, “Cry out with joy and gladness for among you is the Holy One of Israel.”

St. Paul in our second reading wants us to know that despite sufferings, doubts, death and pains, we must stop and let joy enter it to our being!  The Lord is near and is coming again, not to judge but as a mighty savior to live among us.  He comes this Christmas 2018 to challenge us to be a better person and to live with joy.  As the God Man Jesus renews the gifts of life and love with humility, gentleness and weakness, it is not how much we have or want but how much we love and live His example that is the reason for the season.  

This is not the week or the season of self.  We are called to take the example of John the Baptist and humbly live with one another, not to judge but to love.  As John states, “I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.”  Let there be no delay between your good intentions and your good actions done this third week.  All we really need to do is share what we know in faith with one another.  Diligent love for one another is more important than any gift.  The essential values of fully human and divine life are seen in Jesus the Messiah.  May we put those qualities into action.  Perhaps to think about the elderly patient who went to his Doctor and said he was worried because he was getting forgetful. “I am never sure where I put my car key, my eye glass or even walking down the stairs for what I am after. What am I support to do?  I need help Doctor”.  The Doctor replied. “ I’ll assist you, but please pay me now in advance”.  This is our week to pay back the Lord in advance of Christmas.


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GENTLENESS WITH WEAKNESS
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St Louis de Montfort Parish
December 9, 20l9
John the Baptist is our man of the week.  He is gentle and quick to the point as he states, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths.  Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low.  The winding roads shall be made straight and the rough ways made smooth and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”  These proclaimed words of John are to give us a challenge and a responsibility to gently, but forcefully, use these short winter days of Advent to work in the name of the Lord.  Where in you do you need to make sometime current and straight?  Do you need the Sacrament of Reconciliation?  Where in you or in your relationship with God or neighbor do anger, issues of resentment or jealously need to be filled in with understanding and love?  What mountains have you made in the past year that need to be taken down so there is an open heart for the Lord to enter on Christmas?  All of us have winding roads of selfishness, pride, anger, jealousy control that need to be straightened out and smooth so that Jesus, the Messiah, the Price of Peace, may enter in on Christmas.  

He does not speak with anger or like a bursting flame or asserting and trying to crush others. He could have done all these things as he was dressed differently, lived alone as a hermit in the desert and was a quiet but rather odd type of man of prayer. He may have even been a meek man, not soft or sentimental but strong in both what he believed and how he wanted action.  John echoes the prophetic traditions of trying to move people from sin to conversion and to follow this new man on the block, Jesus Christ!  The motive and power behind John’s gentleness is strength and love. Love of the other for whose sake I remain convinced in gentleness and strength to ask you to follow Jesus Christ. Only a strong person can be gentle, because gentleness restrains strength by love. Whether it is strength of body which could destroy physically or strength of will that could crush voluntarily or strength of mind which could devastate intellectually.   But the real motive or power behind gentleness is always love! Love of the other for whose sake I restrain myself.  The two qualities that need to be practiced, remembered and lived are gentleness with weakness and strength with gentleness.

Salvation is God’s affirmation that He loves all equally.  It is his primary motivation for creation and for sending His Son, Jesus Christ to the World to save it. Throughout their life, Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and so many of the apostles and disciples show and live the strength and love of gentleness that is our challenge this week of Advent.

Gentleness is not that difficult.  When in doubt think of Moses as he was fleeing from the Egyptians and came to the Red Sea and wondered what to do. God said do not worry NOW for I will part the sea and you and your people will cross over safely but not the Egyptians. Moses replied, “Well once we are across, what will be the problem. God responded, “Then you will have to file an environmental impact statement on the other side!”   

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WAITING IN GENTLENESS
Rev. Robert F. Tucker
St. Louis de Montfort Parish, Litchfield
December 2, 20l9
Today, we begin our Advent journey 20l9, which will culminate in the gift of Christmas. Advent is a time given for us to watch, pray, prepare, be patient, gentle, and strive to be people of peace preparing to welcome Jesus, the Prince of Peace into our world. We remember his historic coming in the humility of the human condition in a manager in Bethlehem. But, the challenge of the day is “To you O Lord, I lift up my soul.”  The watchfulness, gentle, forgiving person is the one who accepts the invitation to keep watch and be on your best behavior and not be overpowered by the listlessness of discouragement, lack of hope, trust, love and disappointment and be taken in by the vanities of this world.

I suggest that as individuals and a community of believers we strive to imitate the gentleness and meekness of Jesus Himself who states, “Learn of me for I am meek and humbler of heart,”  We cannot just decide to be gentle but we need the grace of the Holy Spirit to move our minds, hearts, words and actions to be meek and to remember the words of St. Francis DeSales, “Nothing is so strong as true gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.”  There are some common things we can do to cultivate the character of gentleness; think kindly thoughts, forgive God, yourself and others, don’t say  certain words or thoughts, be slow of act towards some folk!  Take time this Advent to notice gentle people.  Joseph the silent man of good actions, the foster father of Jesus.  Mary the quiet one open to the opinions of God and Angels and others and willing to be the Mother of God. The good meek qualities of some who live and work with you and even your gentle qualities should be noted and build on them.

Take a few quiet moments each day at the start and make a decision to be gentle in thoughts, words and deeds.  A single holy moment taken each day will put you in the presence of the Lord and make you aware that holiness and gentleness are possible.  Just think about the time that you harbor irritation, anger, bitter feelings and how much love they take from you and the frustration level that leads to high blood pressure and anger. The challenge to remove vengeance or the need to get even or even just to avoid another makes meekness and gentleness take a back seat. Gentleness is the key to patient, waiting, watching and trust that the best is yet to come.  The birth of the Prince of Gentleness and Peace is on the WAY! There are no hopeless situations only people who are hopeless about them!  Use these days of December to build up hope, love, trust and gentleness by living a MORE GENTLE LIFE STYLE.  Your perspective is most important.  A man was missing some tools.  He suspected that a neighbor boy who looked like a thief, had taken the tools.  He felt the boy not only looked like a thief, but acted and spoke like a thief.  That was his perspective.  Gentleness was missing.  When the man later in the day found the misplaced tools, the boy suddenly looked, acted and spoke like any other good young man.  What is your daily perspective?