December 22, 2014

Dec. 22

December 22, 2014:  Monday, 4th week of Advent

  • 'Bull' pin:  Hannah brought Samuel and a 3-year-old bull with her... (1st reading)
  • 'Grapes' pin:  ...along with a skin of wine (1st reading)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  "My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior" (canticle); "He has mercy on every generation" (gospel)
  • 'Crowns' tie:  O King of Nations (today's O Antiphon)
  • 'Angel with horn' tie pin:  "My horn is exalted in my God" (canticle)
  • Purple in shirt and suspenders:  Advent season

Canticle of Hannah (1st reading)

Magnificat (gospel)
The Body of Christ needs all its parts, and each member cares for the others.  Care for your spiritual life, backbone of all we do and are.  Care for your family life, giving your children time, attention, and love.  Care for others, especially the weakest and those most in need.  Care in your language, avoiding offensive words.  Heal wounds of the heart through forgiveness.  Care for your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion, and gratitude.  Heal from envy, hatred, negative feelings, rancor, and laziness.  Don't point the finger, continuously complain, or gossip, but ask God for the wisdom to bite your tongue.  Care for Holy Christmas, so it's a feast of joy in welcoming the Lord, not a feast of consumerism.  Emulate Christ who came to serve, not be served; be humble and tender towards others.

    Hannah presents Samuel to Eli
    Hannah presents Samuel to Eli
  • 1 Sm 1:24-28  Hannah presented Samuel at the temple of the Lord:  “I prayed for this child, and you granted my request.  Now I give him to you; he'll be dedicated to the Lord all his life.”  She left Samuel there.

  • 1 Sm 2:1, 4-8abcd  "My heart exults in the Lord, my Savior."  “The bows of the mighty are broken, while the weak gain strength.  The well-fed go hungry, while the hungry are satisfied.  The barren wife bears sons, while the mother of many languishes.  The Lord puts to death and gives life, casts down and raises up, makes poor and rich, humbles and exalts, raises the needy and poor.”

  • Lk 1:46-56  Mary:  “I proclaim the Lord's greatness, for he has looked upon his lowly servant.  All will call me blessed:  the Almighty has done great things for me.  He has mercy on those who fear him, showed strength, scattered the proud, cast down the mighty, lifted up the lowly, filled the hungry, sent away the rich.  He helped Israel, remembering his promise of mercy.”  She stayed with Elizabeth then returned home.
    • Today's O Antiphon (and alleluia verse):  O King of All Nations and Keystone of the Church;  come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
    • Creighton:  'Barren' Hannah suffered in a culture that valued children.  Eli saw her prayers and blessed her.  When she bore Samuel, she returned to the temple with him so he could serve with Eli.  Hannah responded with openness to the gift she received.  In the gospel, 'barren' Elizabeth was pregnant with John.  Mary's circumstances were different, but she also responded with openness.  Mary’s "Magnificat" response to Elizabeth exemplifies hope.  “Faith, hope, and charity go together.  Hope is practiced through patience, which does good even in the face of apparent failure, and through humility, which accepts God’s mystery and trusts him even in dark times.”  (Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est, 39).
    • One Bread One Body:  When Mary prayed Magnificat, she didn't know whether Joseph would reject her, but she focused on the Lord, rejoiced, and praised Him and his works, saying with Hannah: "My heart exults in the Lord...."  Approach Christmas as Mary did:  by praising and magnifying God, so God becomes larger in our sight, we're overwhelmed, we fix our eyes on him, forget ourselves, and are lifted up.
    • Passionist:  Mary is the most impressive example of Advent preparation.  Gabriel asked her to shift from her planned life, and she said yes despite her questions, concerns, and confusion.  Mary went on to live the mystery as the Lord's handmaid.  She teaches us how to live the mystery of our own life, our own calling.  She teaches us faith, trust, love, love, perseverance, and courage....
    •  The Lord will fill those who hunger for him with peace, joy, and righteousness.  When Elizabeth and Mary greeted one another, they were filled with the Spirit and joyful anticipation of fulfillment of God's promise of a Savior.  Even before Jesus was born, John the Baptist pointed to him, leaping for joy in the womb.  The Spirit, enabling us to know and experience God's presence and power, is the way God reigns in each of us.Mary accepted her mission with faith and obedience, believing God would fulfill his word.  Her Magnificat echoes Hannah's song in proclaiming God's favor to the lowly and hungry.  Hannah and Mary both 'lost' their sons to a ministry of service.  Now is the time to renew our faith, hope, and love of God and others.

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