• Revealed: the true identity of the Magi

    At Epiphany you may hear a homily about the symbolism of the gifts the Magi presented to the Christ Child: gold for his royal status, frankincense for his divine status and myrrh which foreshadows his sacrificial death. You may also hear about how the coming of the Magi fulfilled the... Read more
  • Are the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ a Secret Catholic Code?

    Every year after Christmas, someone makes a post on Facebook that shows up in my news feed proclaiming that “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song is a 16th century underground Catholic catechism used in England. It is my sad duty to correct this error, based upon both the documentation we... Read more
  • Where did the Holy Family live in Egypt?

    It is easy to forget that part of Jesus’ early childhood was spent outside of Bethlehem and the Holy Land. Forced into exile by King Herod, the Holy Family fled to Egypt and lived there for several years. It is fascinating to think about this time in Jesus life. Did Jesus see the ancient... Read more
  • Some Questions About the Birth of Christ You May Not Have Thought to Ask

    During Christmas week we do well to ponder certain questions about the Incarnation and birth of our Lord. The questions are taken from St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica. Whether Christ was born at a fitting time? (Summa Theologica III, q. 35, art. 8) There is this difference... Read more
  • Counting Christmas: Celebrating the Twelfth Night

    Eight octave days, culminating in a New Year. Twelve days before Epiphany. Forty days until the Presentation. This is how we count the days of Christmas. The octave and forty days are biblical, prescribed by the Mosaic Law for Circumcision and the dedication in the Temple of a male... Read more
  • Jimmy Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Psalm 91

    In March several years ago, I heard from Jimmy Stewart. Sorting distractedly through the usual mail, I was surprised by the return address on a greeting-card sized envelope. It was quite modest, yet it stood out like a six-foot rabbit: “James Stewart, Beverly Hills, CA.” Although never... Read more
  • The Desert Flowers: The Gospel and Isaiah

    We are in the season of Advent and the readings recently, as you may have noticed, are frequently taken from the Book of Isaiah. This is a tradition that goes back centuries to the early Church. One might have thought that Book of Isaiah would have been associated with Easter, since... Read more
  • The crèche and the gap

    For the past decade or so, I’ve been assembling a mid-sized Judean village of Fontanini crèche figures, including artisans, herders (with sheep), farmers (with chickens and an ahistorical turkey), vintners, blacksmiths, musicians, weavers, and a fisherman or two (one awake, another sleeping).... Read more
  • Big toy store will lose a projected $2.7 million to put family first this Christmas Eve

    With Christmas day falling on a Monday this year, many families will be be rushing around on Sunday trying to find those last-minute gifts or cooking ingredients. But Gary Grant, the founder of The Entertainer (the largest independent toy retailer in the UK), will be sitting at home “helping... Read more
  • The power and the beauty of the O Antiphons

    Like many peripheral things which stick in the mind I can still remember the lines of French poetry which the BBC broadcast to the French Resistance as the code to signal the advent of D-Day. To those who waited, these sonorous words conveyed the unleashing of an awesome power, they announced... Read more