December 19, 2014

Dec. 19

December 19, 2014:  Friday, 3rd week of Advent

  • 'Angel pin':  angel in 1st reading, Gabriel in gospel
  • 'Holy Spirit' chain:  Spirit stirred Samson (1st reading); John will be filled with the Spirit (gospel)
  • 'Rock' tie pin:  Be my rock of refuge (psalm)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Rescue me from the hand of the wicked (psalm)
  • 'Christmas tree' tie:  Root of Jesse's stem (O Antiphon, a reach)
  • Purple in suspenders:  Advent season
  • Christmas pin:  Nativity Novena (subseason)


Listen

Pope Francis homily
In the Bible sterility is a sign of a person incapable of moving forward.  From sterility, the Lord can bring new life.  When we can't go forward, grace comes, the Son comes, and Salvation comes.  Christmas is about the newness of God.  Samson's and John the Baptist's mothers could give birth because of the Spirit's action.  We must open ourselves to the Spirit of God.  There's much sterility in the Church:  our pelagianism makes us sterile.  We can't give birth on our own!  The Church is a mother only when she opens to the newness of God, to the Spirit's strength; when she says, “I can’t go forward!”, the Spirit comes.
Pray for our Mother Church, because of so much sterility within the people of God, arising from egoism; when we believe we can do everything, take charge of consciences, and walk in hypocrisy, we're sterile.  May our Church be open to God's gift, allow herself to be surprised by the Spirit and give birth, a mother Church.  I think in some places the Church is more like an entrepreneur than a mother.  Lord, give us the grace of fertility and motherhood so the Church may be a mother like Mary.
Read
  • Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a  Angel to Manoah's barren wife:  “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.
    Wordle: Readings 12-19-14
  • 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 rock, fortress, hope, trust, refuge, and strength; rescue me.
  • Lk 1:5-25  Zechariah and Elizabeth observed the commandments but had no child.  The angel Gabriel told him, “Your wife will bear you a son; name him John.  He'll be great in God's sight, filled with the Spirit, and 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.
Reflect
  • Today's O Antiphon (and alleluia verse):  O Root of Jesse's stem, sign of God's love for all his people:  come to save us without delay!
    • Creighton:  As Samson's and John the Baptist's lives sprang from barrenness, new life can come to our barren spirits so we may embrace Christ and love.  May we recognize our barrenness and pray for life....
      O Root of Jesse...
    • One Bread One Body:  Zechariah's words to Gabriel give evidence he didn't trust God.  He who thought God was deaf to his prayers now became deaf.  He prepared well during his 9-month wait, named the boy John, was restored, and blessed God.  May we use the rest of Advent to ponder God's goodness and prepare for Christ's coming.
    • Passionist:  Childlessness can stress a marriage.  In today's readings, Samson is born to a woman thought to be barren, and "barren" Elizabeth becomes pregnant.  Her husband hears first but doubts.  God can make my barren life fruitful.  "Nothing is impossible for God."  "Blessed are you who believed the Lord's word to you would be fulfilled."
    • DailyScripture.net:  Gabriel made Zechariah speechless till the baby was named John and dedicated to the Lord.  God wants us to be quiet before him so we can listen.  Do I listen and ponder his word with trust?  'John' means "the Lord is gracious...."