December 9, 2013

Immaculate Conception

December 9, 2013:   Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the USA

(Trumping St. Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin this year)

  • Gn 3:9-15, 20  God/Adam/Eve/serpent:  “I was naked so hid myself.”  “You ate the forbidden fruit!”  The man replied, “The woman you put with me gave it to me.”  “Eve, why?”  “The serpent tricked me.”  “Serpent, I'll put enmity between you and the woman...”  Eve became mother of all the living.
    Wordle: Readings 12-9-13
  • Ps 98:1-4  "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds."  All have seen the Lord's salvation, justice, kindness, faithfulness known; sing joyfully!
  • Eph 1:3-6, 11-12  Praise God who blessed us, chose us before the world was founded to be holy. to be adopted. to exist for the praise of his glory.
  • Lk 1:26-38  Gabriel/Mary:  “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.  Don't be afraid; you'll bear a son and name him Jesus.  He'll be Son of the Most High, eternal King.” “How?”  “The Holy Spirit and God's power...  The child will be the Son of God...  Nothing's impossible.”  “I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done.”
Pope Francis
  • Before Immaculate Conception statue:  Mary, awaken in us a renewed desire for holiness, make the Gospel's beauty present in us, and make us attentive to God's voice, never indifferent to the cry of the poor, sick, elderly, children, and every human life.
  • Audience with Institute for Human Dignity:  Beware culture of waste in which victims are the unborn, poor, elderly, and disabled; it leads to practical atheism, denying people are made in God’s image.  Let God's Word challenge our ways, policies, priorities, and choices.  Put people at the center, respecting each person's dignity.
  • Homily with Coptic Catholic Patriarch:   Christ conquers our paralysis.  Paralysis can expand and enter into structures and communities, but Christ can reverse the situation.  Let us seek the Lord, new ways to come closer to God.  May our creative imagination bring new paths of encounter, brotherhood, and peace.
Temptations we face:  Thanks to all who work in and for the Church, dedicated to showing God's love; your contribution is enormous, no matter how much pain we feel at our sins, and your witness sustains me.  But culture affects us all; it offers possibilities but can also do harm.  We need to create ways to help pastoral workers; they face particular temptations.  Many, concerned about their personal freedom and relaxation, see their ministry as a job rather than their life, or they identify spiritual life with exercises that don't encourage engagement with others or passion for evangelization.  They experience three evils that feed each other:  heightened individualism, an identity crisis, and cooled fervor. 
Some people are skeptical or cynical about the Church’s message; ministers can develop an inferiority complex and relativize or conceal their Christianity and convictions, winding up unhappy, not identifying with their mission of evangelization.  This weakens their commitment, and they stifle the joy of mission trying to be like others and have what they have.  They devote little time and energy to evangelization, and it becomes forced.  Others can fall into practical relativism, acting as if God, the poor, and people who haven't received the Gospel don't exist.  Some are attached to financial security or want power or human glory, rather than giving their lives in mission.  Don't be robbed of missionary enthusiasm!  (2.II, 76-80; pp. 62-65)
      • Creighton:  Listen:  Adam and Eve didn't; Paul did and asks us to listen to his words about God’s love; and Mary was troubled but listened and was open.  Choose:  Adam and Even chose based on self-love; Paul chose to be God’s messenger; and Mary chose to be the Lord's handmaid. 
      •  What keeps me from receiving God's blessings?

          • "Apple" pin:  forbidden fruit (1st reading)
          • "Star" tie pin:  Mary as woman with crown of 12 stars (cf. Rev 12:1) (feast)
          • White shirt:  color of the day (see ordo, p. 11)
          Special greetings to and prayers for Deacon Richard and the whole community at Immaculate Conception School and Parish in Monrovia!

          Dress your life!

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