5th Day: Gold & Family

Did you ever notice while singing the "Twelve Days of Christmas" that there's something unique about the fifth day? Not only are the "five go-old rings" sung jarringly slower, almost like going over a speed bump too fast, they are also the only inanimate objects in the whole list. Among the twelve gifts, six are birds... Continue Reading →

4th Day: Murder & Crows

A lot of killing going on after Christmas. On the 26th, St. Stephen, the first (adult) who gave witness to Jesus by giving his life; yesterday, the infant martyrs, Holy Innocents; and today St. Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century Archbishop of Canterbury, who was, in a sense, a martyr for religious freedom, at least freedom for... Continue Reading →

3rd Day: Faverolles & Infants

Did you ever notice that half of the gifts are birds?  First a partridge, yesterday turtle doves, today "three French hens," tomorrow calling birds, Then after the "five go-old rings," there are geese and swans. Why "French" hens? Well, it seems that they are a special breed of chickens, called Faverolles, first developed in France in... Continue Reading →

2nd Day: Turtle Doves & St. John

Two turtle doves. Pigeons and doves I'm familiar with (pigeons obnoxiously almost everywhere you don't want them; doves at funerals and papal pictures).  Turtle doves are migrating birds common to Europe, Asia, and Africa, crossing the equator to live perpetually in summer. Smart idea if you have the wings (frequent flyer miles?) and stamina for... Continue Reading →

Ready! Set! The 12 Days begin NOW!

The "Twelve Days of Christmas" are not a count-down to Christmas, as often supposed, but a "count-up" from Christmas to the Epiphany, January 6. Except where the Epiphany is a civil holiday (as it is even in many very secularized countries) or a holy day of obligation (which it is not in the USA), it... Continue Reading →

Who are all those people, anyway?

The Genealogy of Jesus that begins Matthew's Gospel. Christmas Eve is becoming an increasingly popular time for families and individuals to come to Mass, which means most people hear the Vigil Mass Gospel which contains the long list of names of the ancestors of Joseph, the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-25).... Continue Reading →

Tough love

St. Paul and the sinfully divided community at Corinth and Jesus confounding the Pharisees by healing on the Sabbath. What do they have in common? Love isn’t always warm fuzzies; sometimes it’s very demanding and seemingly harsh. Sometimes the Gospel challenges us to be faithful; to the reality of our call to follow Christ. St.... Continue Reading →

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