Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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The Baptism of the Lord

1st Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11

Resp.: Psalm 104:1b-2, 3-4, 24-25, 27-28, 29-30
2nd Reading: Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
Gospel: Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

Now that Jesus's birth has been manifested to the world, His ministry begins. Jesus not only tells us what we should do but he actually does what we should do: he is baptized in the River Jordan.

Jesus did not need to be baptized like we do. He did not contract the stain of Original Sin. He followed His Father's Will and as a result gave water the property, as it were, to cleanse us from Original Sin. The Fathers of the Church said that when Jesus was baptized, the waters were made sweet.

During His Baptism there was the manifestation of the Holy Trinity. The Father's voice is heard, Jesus is in the River Jordan, and the Holy Spirit appears the in form of a dove.
In other words, Jesus is real and everything He does and says is of great importance and on purpose. We must continue to act accordingly if we want to be part of His Kingdom.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


The Epiphany of the Lord

1st Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6

Resp.: Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13
2nd Reading: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12

The time has finally come for Jesus to be made manifest to the earth. The first manifestation was to his parents, the second to the shepherds and now all of humanity.

The Magi who came from the East, by tradition are called Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. It is a Catholic tradition to bless our homes with the following initials made with blessed chalk on this day: 20+C+M+B+19. While the CMB stands for the initials of the Magi, it also stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat: Christ bless this house.

The three gifts they brought were gold frankincense and myrrh. Gold since Jesus is a king, frankincense for his eternal priesthood and myrrh for his death after his passion.

By means of the gifts brought by the Magi, the world now is aware that Christ is the King with an eternal priesthood who will sacrifice Himself to reconcile all people to His Father. If we are aware, we are therefore responsible to act properly. This means that by obeying Christ our King, we have chosen to be adopted sons and daughters of His Father who will receive the inheritance promised to us from the beginning. What an unsurpassable Christmas gift!

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

1st Reading: Numbers 6:22-27

Resp.: Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
2nd Reading: Galatians 4:4-7
Gospel: Luke 2:16-21

Many people do not understand how Mary, a creature, can be called the mother of God. It is very simple: since she's Jesus's mother, and Jesus is God, she is therefore the Mother of God - Theotokos. She's is also called Christotokos, the mother of Christ which is correct but in theology, we always use the most correct and encompassing term which is Mother of God.

This solemnity falls on the last day of the Octave of Christmas. The Church wants us to keep in mind that while we do have a Savior, His Mother is also our mother too. As she said at the wedding at Cana: do whatever he tells you. May this be our motto for this new year.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


Feast of the Holy Family

1st Reading: 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28

Resp.: Psalm 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10
2nd Reading: 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52

Celebrating the feast of the Holy Family is very important. From the beginning of creation God instituted the family as an essential part of His plan for His people. God considers the role of father and mother so important that He asks them to aid Him in the creation of children.

Jesus was part of a family on earth. While anything that he did on earth is significant, it is important to remember that since He is the Way, families are important. We therefore must do all we can to support our own families and others as well. To those who come from broken families, God affords special protection to widows and orphans and punishes those who harm them. God is always there ready to supply for the needs of all families - especially those hurt by loss and tragedy.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

First Sunday of Advent

1st Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Resp.: Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14 (1b)
2nd Reading: 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Gospel: Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

The Advent season has two parts. From the beginning of Advent until December 16, we are concerned with the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world—the final or general judgement. During the second half we are reminded of the meaning of Christmas Day and the O Antiphons. The sacrament that is associated with Advent is Baptism - new life in Christ at the beginning of the new liturgical year. This may seem strange. One might think that Baptism would be more associated with Easter but that season has to do with the fullness of membership in the Catholic Church - the Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist.

In the Gospel Jesus has to warn us about becoming complacent. It is easy for us to become caught up in our own worlds and concerns and to forget about what is most important. We are here to know and love God and to help ourselves and others get to Heaven. In other words, heed the Commandments and do the Will of God by receiving the Sacraments worthily and taking time out to be with God in prayer. To those who don't prepare he comes like a thief in the night. To those of us who do prepare it will go well with us.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD

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