December 31, 2014

Dec. 31

December 31, 2014:  7th day in Christmas Octave

  • 'Clock' tie bar: "Children, it's the last hour" (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin: They weren't really of our number (1st reading)
  • 'Tree' pin:  Then the trees shall exult (psalm)
  • 'Children' pin:  He gave those who accepted the true light power to become God's children (gospel)
  • 'Ten commandments' tie: While the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Christ (gospel)
  • Owl pin:  Jesus, the Word, God's Wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Noël' pin:  Christmas season

  • Prepare ye, from Godspell/ Schwartz (not normally associated with Christmas but in line with today's gospel)
Pope Francis World Day of Peace message
No longer slaves, but brothers and sisters:  I wish peace for everyone and pray for an end to conflicts and suffering; may we act worthy of our humanity.  Last year I spoke of the desire for full life including fraternity allowing us to see others as brothers and sisters to be accepted and embraced.  We're relational beings, so our dignity and freedom must be respected; exploitation damages communion and our call to respectful, just, and loving relationships.
Listening to God’s plan for humanity:  Conversion to Christ, the beginning of a life lived Christian discipleship, generates fraternity as bond of family life and basis of life in society.  Adam and Eve brought about the first brothers, Cain and Abel, who had the same origin, nature, and dignity as their parents, created in God's image.  All people are in relation with others, from whom they differ but with whom they share origin, nature, and dignity; fraternity is the network of relations essential to build the human family God created.
Between creation and the new birth in Christ, sin disrupted fraternity and disfigured the beauty and nobility of our being brothers and sisters.  Cain's murder of Abel out of envy bears witness to his rejection of their call to be brothers; the story brings out the difficult task we're called to, taking care of each other.  Ham’s disrespect drove his father Noah to curse him and bless the others who honored him, creating inequality among brothers.  Estrangement from God expresses refusal of communion and gives rise to enslavement including rejection and mistreatment of others, violations of human dignity and rights, and inequality; hence the need for ongoing conversion.  Christ came to reveal the Father’s love for us; whoever responds to the Gospel becomes an adopted son of the Father.  You need to exercise personal freedom and be converted to become a Christian.  Those who responded to Peter’s preaching entered into the first Christian community; differing social status didn't exclude anyone.  In Christian community, communion is lived in love shared among brothers and sisters.  The gospel can redeem relationships by shedding light that we have in common both adoptive sonship and brotherhood in Christ.  [more tomorrow...]
  • 1 Jn 2:18-21  It's the last hour, and many antichrists have appeared, but you have God's anointing and knowledge of the truth.
    Wordle: Readings 12-31-14
  • Ps 96:1-2, 11-13  "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"  Announce the Lord's salvation; he comes to rule the earth with justice.
  • Jn 1:1-18  In the beginning was the Word who was God.  Life and light came through him.  God sent John to testify to the light so all might believe.  The Word was in the world, but the world did not know or accept him.  But to those who did accept him he gave power to become God's children.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory.  From his fullness we all received; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  The only-begotten Son, God, has revealed God.
    • Creighton:  For 2015 let's resolve to testify to the light of Jesus Christ and to live out God’s justice with joy.  If Christmas is a season of enlightenment, then it can be a time of renewal and life-changing resolutions.  Recognize God is among us and has given us the power to be his children living in Christ's light and God's justice.
    • One Bread One Body:  "How to end a year":  People in the Church socially and culturally but who haven't given their lives to Jesus and the Church may have been sacramentalized but not evangelized; they're in danger of becoming antichrists (1st reading).  Make a total commitment to Jesus; we're privileged God has given us the life, freedom, faith, and love to do so.
    • Passionist:  In 2014 did I make room for God?  Did I let Christ thrive in my heart?  Did I reach out to others?  Did I apologize to that person who hates me?  Did I forgive that person who betrayed me?  Was I Jesus' hands?  God of beginnings and endings, thank you for the gift of time.  Help me let go of our regrets and failures so I may give birth to your love in the world.
    •  To the Jews the "word of God" was active, creative, dynamic, and equated with his wisdom.  The Book of Wisdom describes 'wisdom' as God's eternal, creative, and illuminating power.  John describes Jesus as God's creative, life- and light-giving word come in human form.  Jesus is the wisdom and power of the God who made and sustains the world, in human nature to accomplish our salvation.
    "Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise.  We had lost the good; it had to be given back to us.  In darkness, we needed light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.  These things moved God to descend to human nature and visit us, since we were in so miserable a state." (St. Gregory of Nyssa)
    "Christians keep proclaiming the Incarnation. The Son of God assumed human nature to accomplish our salvation.  The Son worked with human hands, thought with a human mind, acted with a human will, and loved with a human heart.  Born of Mary, he became one of us, like us in all things but sin."  (Gaudium et Spes).
    Jesus partook our humanity so we could partake his divinity (2 Pet 1:4). God willed that we be united with him. When Jesus came, God became known as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we became his children.

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