December 21, 2016

Dec. 21

December 21, 2016:  Wednesday, 4th week, Advent

See 17 connections with today?
Legend below
Listen

For Psalm 33
Pope Francis Audience
Recall Isaiah's words: “The Lord will give you a sign:  the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel,” and “a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.”  Both have the sense of Christmas:  God fulfills his promise by coming in the flesh, and he gives his people the hope of eternal life.  This hope is realistic and reliable; it redeems and saves, for Christ, by coming in the flesh, has opened the way for us to ascend to the Father.
When you prepare the Christmas crib, be attentive to the message of hope it embodies.  When we gaze on the nativity scene that takes us to Bethlehem, we see God’s love for each of us.  We see it in Mary, who trusted in God’s word; she is the Mother of Hope.  Joseph is the man of hope, who gave Jesus his name ('God saves').  We see the joy of the shepherds who represent the humble and the poor awaiting the Messiah; they received with joy the peace the angels proclaimed.  Every time we say yes to Jesus, a bud blossoms into hope.  May we trust in this bud and open our hearts to the Good News of the birth of Jesus who came to save us.
Read
  • Zep 3:14-18a  Shout for joy!  God has removed the judgment against you and turned your enemies away.  Fear not; the Lord is in your midst, a mighty savior; he'll rejoice over you and renew you in his love.
  • Ps 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21  "Exult, you just, in the Lord! Sing to him a new song."  Give thanks on the harp and lyre.  Blessed those he chose for his inheritance.  We await and trust the Lord, our help.
  • Lk 1:39-45  Mary traveled to the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth, who cried, “Blessed are you and the fruit of your womb!  When I heard your greeting, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed are you who believed that what the Lord told you would be fulfilled.”
    Reflect
    • Today's O Antiphon:  O Oriens, O Radiant Dawn (Morning Star, Rising Sun), splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:  come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.   Reflection (thanks, Sr. Kathleen!)
            • Creighton:  As much as there is to deflect "the most wonderful time of the year," today's gospel returns us to Mary in the final days of carrying Jesus.  Anticipating a child's birth is exciting.  Reflect on the year's blessings and become more attentive to why we celebrate....
            • One Bread, One Body:  "Hide and see":  Jesus looks for  us, even when we hide from him behind a boulder, sin, or fear.  He loves us so much, he came down from heaven to look.  I might not like what I see in myself, but Jesus calls me, "My beloved."  Realize he's looking upon you, hear him tell you how he loves you, and love him....
            • Passionist:  Appearances can deceive; what seems weak can emerge as forceful.  What is born fragile can ultimately count as invincible.  Jesus' birth juxtaposed with his crucifixion realigns our lives on what promises to be reliable; the helplessness of birth is echoed in the waning moments of death.  Men are next to invisible in today's readings:  a bride awaits her lover, and Mary and Elizabeth await their sons.  The readings fantasy the lover springing across mountains and shadow Mary setting out hastily on the risky trip to meet Elizabeth who will feel John leaping in her womb.  Joy permeates life experience, even in hard times.  The two children in the womb were the cause of joy not to be nullified by their agonizing deaths to come.  Don't downgrade the readings' exhilaration.  Winter follows fall, but then spring comes.  A life affected by Christ's birth is forever tinted.  Life overcomes death, not vice versa....
            • DailyScripture.net:  "Joyful anticipation of the Messiah":  Blessed are you if you recognize the Lord with eyes of faith.  'Blessed' [μακάριος] means 'happy'; it describes a joy that's serene, untouchable, self-contained, and independent of chance and changing circumstances.  There's a paradox:  the 'blessedness' given to Mary of being the mother of God's Son became a sword that pierced her heart as he was crucified.  "Without God's Son nothing could exist; without Mary's son, nothing could be redeemed" (Anselm).  To be chosen by God is a privilege and responsibility.  Mary received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow; the sorrow didn't diminish her joy because her faith, hope, and trust in God fueled it.  The Lord gives us joy that enables us to bear any sorrow or pain...  When Elizabeth greeted Mary and recognized the Messiah in her womb, they were filled with the Spirit and joyful anticipation of the fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  John the Baptist pointed to his coming, leaping for joy even in his mother's womb as the Spirit revealed the King's presence to him.  God reigns in each of us through the Holy Spirit....
            Dress legend
            • 'Alps' tie pin:  My lover comes springing across the mountains (1st reading)
            • 'Dove' pin:  "Arise, my beloved, my dove,... and come!" (1st reading); Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (gospel)
            • 'Shield' pin:  The Lord is our shield (psalm)
            • 'Deer' tie:  My lover is like a... young stag (1st reading)
            • 'Roses' pin:  The flowers appear on the earth... (1st reading)
            • 'Treble clef' tie pin:  The song of the dove is heard (1st reading); the Lord will sing joyfully because of you (alt. 1st reading); sing to the Lord (psalm)
            • 'Tree' pin:  The fig tree puts forth its figs (1st reading)
            • 'Rock' tie pin:  “O my dove in the clefts of the rock,... you're lovely.” (1st reading)
            • 'Heart' pin:  Exult with all your heart (alt. 1st reading); the design of the Lord's heart stands forever; our hearts rejoice (psalm)
            • 'Annunciation/Magnificat' pin:  Mary visits Elizabeth (gospel)
            • Purple tie and suspenders:  Advent season
            • 'No-"L"' button:  Christmas novena AKA Advent II (subseason)