The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Monday, January 06, 2003
Always a Reason to Celebrate

In the spirit of celebration, Epiphany always was a time to mark out the dates of the coming year, the date of Ash Wednesday and Easter and all the days that reveal our immersion in and celebration of the paschal mystery.

For us Missionaries of the Precious Blood, all of the dates in the Epiphany proclamation are important to us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall be ever manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation. Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising will be celebrated between the evening of seventeenth of April and the evening of the twentieth of April. Each Easter as on each Sunday the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has forever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the fifth of March. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the twenty ninth of May . Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the eighth of June. And this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the thirtieth of November. Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feast of the holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. To Jesus Christ who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever, Amen

In the same spirit, the Precious Blood Community marks out the year for celebration of the mysteries of the Most Precious Blood through the celebrations around St. Gaspar and the entire Precious Blood Family.

January 6
St. Gaspar’s Birthday

February 4
The Feast of Blessed Maria De Mattias
(soon to to be Saint Maria de Mattias)

March 4
The Foundation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ

The Sacred Triduum is enough

May 24
The Solemnity of Mary, Help of Christians

The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart

July 1
The Solemnity of the Precious Blood

August 15
The Foundation of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood

September 14
The Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

October 21
The Solemnity of our Holy Founder
Priest, Missionary and Apostle of the Precious Blood
St. Gaspar del Bufalo

Commemoration of the Martyrs of the Precious Blood Family

December 28
The Anniversary of the Death of St. Gaspar.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 4:54 PM link
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Follow That Star
Happy Birthday St. Gaspar, January 6, 1786

While the rest of our world takes down their Christmas trees,
puts away the ornaments and the lights
and gets started on their post-Christmas diets,

we linger a little longer with the Christmas story.
We still fix our gaze on the Christmas crib scene,
paying attention to each new figure.

We recall again that our God has taken flesh and lived among us. The face of God is revealed in our midst.

The shepherds have gazed in wonder.
The angels have sung their songs of joy.
Now a star has appeared
and strangers from the East have come
to inquire about the fulfillment of ancient prophesies
and the birth of a king.

Any words that I speak
cannot contain the mystery of God's revelation to us.
And one year's celebration
cannot plumb the depths of what God has done for us
and among us.

Next year, God willing,
we will tell the same stories,
and sing the old songs and carols.
We will pray again for a greater vision of "God's secret plan"
The secret plan revealed to Paul
and described in his letter to the Ephesians.

Now, as the rest of the world puts away their Christmas decorations and prepares for the Valentine Day sales,
we linger
with the story of a house in a little town in the Middle East.

We remain with a story of a mother and her child and the
stargazers from a distant desert kingdom.

We tell this story for those who think they do not belong,
for those who think they are insignificant.
We tell this story for those who are far off, or far out,
for those who believe they are not good enough.
We tell this story for the powerless,
who do not have the normal advantages.

'And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the princes of Judah, since from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'"

And you as well, are by no means the least.
God says to each of us who feel ourselves the least,
"you, too, are the birthplace of God.

This is not easy for us to hear
for the world we live in values power,

If you have this small, green, powerful American Express card,
you can do anything, go anywhere.
You have the privileges of membership.

The story of the Epiphany gospel is that God invites all
to the privileges of membership.

God's secret plan, revealed to the Apostle Paul,
a plan unknown in former times,
is that those who are outside,
those who are far off
now are also co-heirs in the family of God.

They are co-members of the same body,
and partners,
sharers in the mission and promise of Christ.

There is no requirement that we have it all together.
The Astrologers did not meet a body of belief,
a set of doctrine.
They experienced a person, a child with his mother,
in a house, a simple normal house.

They did not find a fully grown adult seated on a throne;
they discovered a helpless infant.

When we set out to accomplish something,
when someone makes a promise to us,
normally we want immediate, verifiable results.
Usually that's how we would run a business.

That is not how God promised us the kingdom.

"Rise up in splendor, your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you"

When I hear that my first reaction is, "where?"

"You shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow."

When I hear that my first question is, "when?"

What has been born in our midst is not complete.
God could have created a full grown tree.
Instead God planted a seed.

God could have placed us here as fully processed saints.
Instead we are given time to grow.

God could have flown those astrologers to Bethlehem
on angelic air express.
Instead God sent them a star.
They had to decide to follow that star.
They had to pick up everything,
travel considerable distances.
They followed slowly, surely,
until they arrived where the star was leading them.

And it was just a star that lead them.
It wasn't as if they could let their fingers do the walking through the yellow pages.
AAA didn't provide a well marked map.

There wasn't a trumpet blast,
or a voice from heaven.

All they had to go on was a dream
and the star in the sky.

The people in this story who had the scriptures
did not know what was going on.
When they found out they were upset because they thought that they were going to lose their power,
their advantage,

When the star has disappeared,
and the shepherds have gone back to their sheep;
when the astrologers return to their desert kingdom
and the last Christmas tree is recycled,
and the ornaments are returned to their boxes,

then is when we must know that the message of Christmas is still here, and that the work of Christmas will have just begun.

We will still need to feed the poor.
The homeless will still need to find their place in the inn.

We will still need to grow in love,
for the members of our family
and for the stranger in our midst.

We will know that we have the scriptures to guide us
and the bread of life to nourish us.
We will also have each other,
and we will still have our dreams.

God will continue to speak to us in our conversations,
in our stories,
our songs
and prayers
and in the happenings of every day life.

And we will still see people at our door
Those who long for community,
for freedom,
and for conversion.

And sometimes those people will be us.

Then we will also know that the
privileges of membership will be a gift to all.

And the privileges of membership
are not only for those who have their act together.

Now in this child those who have been far off are brought near.
Pure gift,
there was no application form
or credit check.

Now in Christ Jesus, those who are far off are brought near in the Blood of Christ.

And we are the star.
This community
in this city,
we are by no means least.
We are the light that continues to extend that invitation.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 12:17 PM link
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