Dear STA Family,
Merry Christmas! The Lord is with us! It is with great joy that I write to you this holy day and I thank you for being here to share in our celebration as we reflect on the birth of our Lord and stoke the flame of our relationship with Him.
Many times when I write you or speak to you in a homily, I address you all as the "Saint Thomas family." In truth, this is so much more than a salutation...we are, in all sincerity, a real family—a reality made possible through our Lord Jesus Christ, in Whom we are united. This reality that we are a family in Christ means we are deeply connected, by something extraordinary and supernatural. In greeting you as "family", I mean for us to recognize in each other the nature we share as children of God.
Pope John XXIII remarked, "Mankind is a great, and immense family...This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas." It is true that at Christmas we feel something supernatural among us...it's as if we can physically feel that indelible spiritual mark which God places on our hearts in the Sacraments. At Christmas, we feel that pure and intimate familiarity of belonging that is the Lord's hallmark—His comfort fills those voids where we are "un-whole" and restores our hope in everything. At Christmas, we feel that Love is among us!
We don't need to reserve this feeling for just one season. In fact, the Lord, Love Himself; is among us all year at Mass and in our relationships with each other. Saint Teresa of Calcutta wrote: "It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you." We must nurture, protect and uplift each other as only family can do. It is from the family—that fundamental cell of society—that we bear the fruit of Christ which can then be shared with others. This is as true in the homes we share as a family as it is in the parish we share as a family.
In the coming year, we will gather each week in thanksgiving for all that God gives us. In return, He wants us, perhaps now more than ever, to "love one another as He loved us." He wants us, surely now more than ever, to go out and proclaim Him. To everyone we meet—let us regard them and care for them as family and share the Good News! Let us open our hearts, enlarge our boundaries and bring those at the farthest edges, closer. Beginning even here, look to the brother or sister next to you in the pew. Do not let them leave a stranger. If you came to Saint Thomas alone, see that you are not alone! You are each part of the STA family, bonded together by a different kind of flesh and blood—one that was born thousands of years ago but that is living still today.
Together in this, let us rejoice!
Yours in Christ, Father SteveREAD MORE