December 25, 2013

Christmas Day

December 25, 2013:  Christmas Day

Wordle: Readings 12-25-13 midnight
  • Is 9:1-6  The people in darkness have seen a great light; they rejoice.  A son is born to us:  Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
  • Ps 96: 1-3, 11-13  "Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord."  Sing a new song of God's salvation; the Lord comes to rule with justice.
  • Ti 2:11-14  God's grace has appeared, saving, training us to live temperately, justly, and devoutly as we await the appearance of the glory of Christ.
  • Lk 2:1-14  Mary gave birth to a son.  An angel appeared to shepherds and said, “Fear not; I proclaim news of great joy for all:  a savior, Christ, and Lord has been born for you.  You'll find an infant in a manger.”  “Glory to God, and peace to those on whom God's favor rests.”

Wordle: Readings 12-25-13 dawn
  • Is 62:11-12  God proclaims, your savior comes!  They shall be called the redeemed of the Lord.
  • Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12  "A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us."  Rejoice; the Lord is king.  Light dawns for the just.  Be glad in the Lord, and give thanks.
  • Ti 3:4-7  When God's love graciously appeared, he saved us through rebirth and renewal by the Spirit, poured out on us through Jesus Christ, so we might be justified and become heirs of eternal life.
  • Lk 2:15-20  Shepherds went to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph, and the infant.   They made known the angel's message, the hearers were amazed.  Mary reflected on this in her heart.  They returned, praising God.
Pope Francis

Urbi et Orbi:  The song of the angels who appeared to the shepherds unites heaven and earth, gives praise to heaven, and promises peace.  It's a song for everyone with hope, who care for others and seek to do their duty.

Give glory to our merciful God!  I hope everyone will come to know God and feel his closeness, live in his presence, love him, and adore him.  May we give glory to God by our lives of love of him and our brothers and sisters.  True peace calls for daily commitment, starting from the grace God has given us in Jesus Christ.

Our thoughts turn to the most vulnerable children, the elderly, battered women, the sick…  Prince of Peace, bring peace and harmony in Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Nigeria; Israel, Palestine, and Iraq; turn hearts from violence to dialogue.

Lord of life, help all who are persecuted for your name, the displaced, refugees, migrants in search of a dignified life.  Touch all engaged in human trafficking, that they may realize the gravity of this crime.  Look upon the many children who are kidnapped, forced into military service, wounded, or killed in armed conflicts.  Look on our planet, exploited by greed.  Help and protect victims of disasters.

Let us pause before the Child, allowing our hearts to be touched and warmed by God's tenderness; we need his caress.  Praise our God, full of love!  God of peace, help us to be peacemakers in our life, families, cities, nations, and world.

Homily:  People who walk see a great light.  Walking brings to mind salvation history:  people on pilgrimage to the promised land, accompanied by the Lord!  But people have been faithful and unfaithful, obedient and rebellious, on pilgrimage and adrift.  We too have bright and dark moments.  If we love God and our brothers and sisters, we walk in the light; if we're dominated by pride, then darkness falls.  Tonight God's grace has been revealed, making salvation possible for everyone.  The grace is Jesus, true man and true God, come to free us from darkness and grant us light.  The shepherds were the first to receive the news because they were among the last, the outcast, and they were awake, keeping watch, guarding their flocks.  Let's join the shepherds, to pause before the Child, thanking and praising God, sharing the joy of the Gospel:  God loves us so much that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness.  Our Father loves us, gives us Jesus to guide us to the promised land.  Jesus our peace brightens the darkness.

    • Creighton:  The Christmas story is familiar yet ever new; remember it all year.
    •  The first to hear the good news of the savior's birth were the humble.  Jesus chose humility and lowliness.  We needed a savior who could reconcile us with God.  The Word became flesh to show us God's love and mercy.  Today we celebrate present realities – Christ reigning in heaven and in our hearts – and past events – the birth and manifestation of the Messiah.  We thank God for saving us from sin and death by sending his son to give us pardon and life.  God wants to fill our hearts with joy.  Christmas joy is eternal; it's the joy of Jesus made present through the Spirit dwelling in us.

    Angel, thanks to Sue, guest dresser (gospel)
    Pin (see Dec. 17 for legend):  Christmas

    Dress your life!

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