December 19, 2013

December 19

December 19, 2013:  Thursday, 3rd week of Advent

Readings

    Wordle: Readings 12-19-13
  • Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a  An angel said to the barren wife of Manoah, “You'll bear a son.  Be careful with him; he's consecrated to God. and will begin to deliver Israel.”  She bore a son and named him Samson; God's Spirit stirred him as he grew.
  • Ps 71:3-4a 5-6ab, 16-17  "My mouth shall be filled with your praise, and I will sing your glory!"  You're my hope, refuge, and strength; rescue me.
  • Lk 1:5-25  Zechariah and Elizabeth observed the commandments but had no child.  The angel Gabriel said to him, “Elizabeth will bear you a son; name him John.  He'll be great in God's sight, filled with the Spirit, will turn many to the Lord in the power of Elijah and prepare a people fit for the Lord.” / “How can I be sure?” / “God sent me to you.  Because you didn't believe me, you'll be speechless till all this happens.”  Elizabeth conceived.
Pope Francis
  • Homily:   From sterility comes life not only for these women but also for the hopeless.  The desert will be like a forest.  The Lord can make life grow from dryness.  God gives us the grace to give life.  Many imagine we can save ourselves, but only God can save.  We need to recognize our dryness and pray, "I'm sterile but want to be fruitful, to give life to others. I can’t do it, but You can."  Pride can make us sterile, like Michal; say, "I'm a desert; O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom, O Root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come give life; only You can!"  With a sterile soul's humility, receive grace to flourish and give life.
We're all missionary disciples:  The Spirit impels all the baptized to evangelize. The Spirit guides God's people in truth, even if we don't find words to explain our faith.  God gives all the faithful an instinct of faith that helps them discern what is of God.  The Spirit's presence gives Christians wisdom to grasp divine realities. 
Baptism makes all Christians missionary disciples, agents of evangelization; each Christian must be involved personally, actively engaged. If you've encountered God's love in Christ, you're a missionary.  The first disciples immediately proclaimed the Messiah; so too the Samaritan woman and St. Paul.  What are we waiting for?

We're all called to mature as evangelizers.  We should let others keep evangelizing us so we receive better training, deeper love, and clearer witness, but we shouldn't wait to communicate Jesus wherever we are. We're called to offer others explicit witness to God's saving love.  You know life isn't the same without him; tell others what's helped you live and given you hope. Imperfection no excuse; mission stimulates us to grow.  (3.I, 119-121, pp. 96-98)
Reflections
    • RC.net:  Two barren couples conceive and bear sons (Samson, John the Baptist) God called to bring deliverance; let's renew our hope in God’s faithfulness.  Zechariah was attuned to God’s voice.  Am I?
    • Creighton:  The readings reinforce life's preciousness and parents' joy when they hear they're with child.  Remember the miracle of creation.
    Music
    • Please send me music suggestions, especially for the Christmas season!  I welcome links to audio, video, sheet music, and/or lyrics, and I'm happy to give you credit.
     Apparel

    • Angel pin:  Gabriel (gospel)
    • "Keyboard with dove" tie pin:  Spirit stirred Samson (1st reading); John will be filled with the Spirit (gospel)
    • Purple T-shirt:  Advent season
    • Christmas pin (see Tuesday for legend):  Nativity Novena (subseason)
    Dress your life!

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