December 23, 2014

Dec. 23

December 23, 2014:  Tuesday, 4th week of Advent

  • 'Tablets' tie:  Zechariah asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name” (gospel re tablet, today's and Thursday's O Antiphons re law)
  • 'Heart' tie bar:  All who heard these things took them to heart (gospel)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Your redemption is at hand (psalm); "Surely the Lord's hand was with him” (gospel)
  • Purple in suspenders:  Advent (season)
  • Christmas button:  Nativity Novena (subseason)


1st reading
    • Thus saith the Lord/But who may abide the day of His coming, from Messiah/ Handel:  traditional, "soulful"
O Antiphon
    • John/ Winter [leadsheet and note]
    • What child is this?/ Dix:  about Jesus, but in today's gospel, people asked the same about John the Baptist

Pope Francis to Curia
Think of the Roman Curia as a model of the Church, a body that seeks to be more alive, healthier, more harmonious, and more united in itself and with Christ.  It's exposed to sickness and temptations that weaken our service to the Lord:

  • Considering oneself immortal, immune, or indispensable:  be self-critical, stay up to date, and seek to better yourself.
  • 'Martha-ism', excessive industriousness, not sitting at Jesus' feet:  take rest and replenishment seriously.
  • Hardening of mind and soul, losing serenity, vivacity, and boldness, hiding behind paper, becoming machines rather than God's servants:  weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice; don't lose the sentiments that Jesus had.
  • Excessive planning and functionalism:  don't try to regulate the Spirit of innovation.
  • Poor coordination, lost communion/collaboration
  • Spiritual Alzheimer's disease, forgetting personal salvation history, building walls, becoming slaves to idols they sculpted
  • Rivalry and vainglory, exalting appearances or honors, leading to false mysticism
  • Existential schizophrenia, hypocrisy:  if you abandon service and limit yourself to bureaucratic matters, you lose contact with reality and people.
  • Chatter, grumbling, gossip:  makes sowers of discord and reputation murderers.  Speak directly to people, not behind their backs.
  • Deifying leaders, honoring people rather than God:  don't be a careerist/opportunist; think of what you should give, and be happy.
  • Indifference to others:  don't lose the warmth of personal relationships. Put your knowledge at service of others and experience joy.
  • Sour, gruff, grim, melancholy, severe face (sign of fear and insecurity):  don't treat others with rigidity and arrogance.
  • Accumulation of goods to fill emptiness of heart
  • Cliques:  belonging to a group can become stronger than belonging to the Body or even Christ, becoming a cancer threatening unity and causing scandal.
  • Worldly profit and exhibitionism, transforming service into power, and power into goods, for profit or more power.  Don't slander, defame, or discrediting others to show you're more capable.

Speaking the truth in love, we grow into Christ and are built up in love.  I read priests are like airplanes:  many fly, but they make news only when they crash.  One who falls can really harm the body of the Church.  Many criticize them, but few pray for them.
    He is like
    a refiner's fire...
  • Mal 3:1-4, 23-24  I'm sending my messenger to prepare the way.  The Lord will come to the temple, but who will endure that day?  He, like the refiner’s fire, will purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer sacrifice pleasing to the Lord.  I'll send you Elijah to turn fathers' hearts to children and children's to fathers.
  • Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-10, 14  "Lift up your heads and see; your redemption is near at hand."  Teach me your paths.  God shows sinners the way, guides and teaches the humble, is friend to those who fear him.
  • Lk 1:57-66  Elizabeth bore a son; friends and family rejoiced.  She said he was to be named John; when Zechariah confirmed, his mouth was opened.  They said, “What will this child be?  God's hand was with him.”
    • Today's O Antiphon:  O Emmanuel, King and Giver of Law:  come to save us, Lord our God!
    • Creighton:  We're only willing to wait for something we want.  What do you want? Health, healing, reconciliation, love, awareness of God's love, freedom from attachments or self-centered needs?  Notice and welcome your longings. God wants our wholeness, well-being, and reconciliation more than we do.  Can I wait faithfully like Elizabeth and Zechariah did?  May I recognize God's presence in the small, vulnerable, tender, or seemingly insignificant, in unlikely places and times.
    • One Bread One Body:  Elijah will turn fathers' and children's hearts to each other.  God calls fathers to represent God the Father to their families through constant love, trust in God's provision, and hard work....
    •  'John' means "the Lord is gracious." In the births of John and Jesus we see God's grace breaking forth into a broken world.  The prophets foretold Elijah's return to announce the Messiah's coming; John fulfilled Elijah's role.  His birth shows God's favor in preparing us for the Savior's coming....

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