The Star Wars franchise portrays strong women in various ways throughout their movies. But, the gal who redefined for me what it was to be a princess of awesomeness was Leia. She wasn’t perfect, but she was an integral member of the rebellion against the Empire, the Force was strong with her, and she was brave and feisty.
Today is an extra special day—it’s the octave of Christmas (one week later), New Year’s Day, the 50th World Day of Peace, and the day we celebrate that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of God. The last one might not seem like such a big deal—we all know that Mary is God’s Mom, but for the early Church this teaching was a major breakthrough. And it’s still important for us today because Mary is our Mother, too.
The Christmas story is one familiar to us all; whether it’s the story of the shepherds being summoned to the manger, the genealogy of Jesus (the endless list of begats), or John’s “in the beginning was the Word…”, each story introduces an aspect of Jesus’ life that is important to our Christmas experience.
Having been a fan of the Star Wars franchise since I was a small child, each new movie (except those three that shall not be named) brings fresh excitement. Rogue One lived up to the hype and filled in some blanks that I’ve been holding since I was seven. My review of Rogue One with discussion questions for families.
The Princess Bride was on TV the other night. No matter what else is happening in my life, if I’m flipping channels and I come across The Princess Bride, that’s as far as I’m going. I have the movie on DVD—I could watch it any time I want—without commercials. But, if I see it on TV, I’m watching it. It was playing in the background while I was working, and while I wasn’t paying 100% attention to it, it didn’t stop me from saying the lines along with the movie. When the wedding scene came on, however, I began to pay attention. It’s hilarious.
Everybody knows; and I’m sure Prince Humperdink would have remembered if he wasn’t so rushed, that his marriage to Buttercup was not valid. But, poor Buttercup was so distraught that she lost sight of this fact. Thankfully, Buttercup has Westley to put it in perspective.
I could have called this reflection “Called to be Holy” because that’s certainly a theme within the readings, but when we choose not to respond to our call to be holy, we wind up tempting God and wearying people. Trusting God is how we respond to our call to be holy and today’s readings highlight a couple of characters who were invited to do just that.
Over the years, one of the phrases regarding Mary that stood out for me was, “She treasured these things in her heart.” It comes up a couple of times in Luke’s Gospel (different translations have slightly different wording—the NAB now has “kept”) as events unfold in Jesus’ life. This phrase became more meaningful to me when I had children of my own, and began to treasure various moments of their unfolding lives in my heart. It made me reflect on Mary’s motherhood; that phrase coming back to me each time I made a mental note to file this new event away in my memory.
The Little Prince is a classic children’s book that is probably more important for adults to read than anyone. Netflix made a beautiful movie version of the book that’s not only free (if you have Netflix), but a wonderful way to spend a cold winter evening with your family.
This Sunday is Gaudete Sunday; a day to rejoice! In fact, Gaudete means rejoice. We’re halfway to Christmas, and that’s nothing to sneeze at! Our scripture readings today reflect that joy and recall the “jubilee” spirit that Jesus brought with him when he became one of us.