Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23 REFLECT “Nazareth is the school where one begins to understand the life of Jesus: the school of the Gospel,” according to Pope Saint Paul VI. For him, as for many other masters […]


Saint Thomas Becket, bishop and martyr 2 Timothy 2:8–13; 3:10–12 REFLECT T. S. Eliot immortalized the story of the death of Thomas Becket in his 1935 play Murder in the Cathedral. One of the play’s most poignant moments comes as Becket resolves to conquer his […]


Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs 1 John 1:5—2:2 REFLECT Good versus evil. The might of heaven battling the powers of hell. The feast of the Holy Innocents places the cosmic struggle right before our very eyes. Herod’s tyranny is evident: The murder of children […]


Feast of Saint John, apostle and Evangelist 1 John 1:1–4 REFLECT In contrast to Stephen’s bloody martyrdom, our tradition holds that Saint John the Evangelist was the only apostle not to die a martyr. While a priest celebrates every other feast of the apostles wearing […]


Feast of Saint Stephen, first Martyr Acts 6:8–10; 7:54–59 REFLECT I’ve always thought it a bit jarring, the very day after Christmas, to celebrate Saint Stephen, the first martyr. At first glance the shift from the beloved accounts of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels to […]


The Nativity of the Lord Luke 2:1–14 REFLECT St. Francis of Assisi tenderly referred to Jesus as “the babe of Bethlehem.” We sing fondly of this modest village in “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” This apparently insignificant town — a remote and minor place in […]


Saturday of the Fourth week of Advent Ero Cras REFLECT On Christmas Eve all our Advent waiting comes together. We look back at the prophecies of Israel and see time and again how Christ fulfills them all. They point clearly to the Redeemer, but this […]


Friday of the Fourth week of Advent O Emmanuel REFLECT Emmanuel means “God with us.” We know the word well from the popular Advent hymn that includes the name in the title. But despite how often we’ve heard it sung, like many things that are […]


Thursday of the Fourth week of Advent O Rex Gentium REFLECT In today’s O Antiphon verse, the Church sings, “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; / O Keystone of the mighty arch of man: / Come and save […]


Wednesday of the Fourth week of Advent O Oriens REFLECT Christ is called the “radiant dawn” or “the dayspring.” One special Advent tradition in Northern Europe centers around attending a series of votive Masses prayed in honor of the Virgin Mary. These Masses — called […]