December 28, 2014

Holy Family

December 28, 2014:  Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

  • 'Kneeling person' tie bar:  The prayer of a father or one who reveres their father is heard (1st reading)
  • 'Shield with sword' tie pin:  "Abram, I am your shield" (1st reading alt.); "a sword shall pierce you" (gospel)
  • 'Star' tie pin:  "Abram, look up and count the stars if you can." (1st reading alt.); from Abraham came descendants numerous as the stars (2nd reading alt.)
  • 'Fruit' tie:  You who walk in the Lord's ways shall eat the fruit of your handiwork (psalm)
  • 'Grapes' pin:  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine (psalm)
  • Dressing today:  'Put on' compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (2nd reading)
  • '[Koala] Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' with one another (2nd reading)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Let Christ's peace control your hearts (2nd reading)
  • 'Owl' tie pin:  Let Christ's word dwell in you as in wisdom you teach one another (2nd reading); the child grew and became filled with wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Sing with gratitude in your hearts; love your wives; grateful hearts (2nd reading)
  • Christmas pin:  season
  • White shirt:  color of today's celebration

Pope Francis Angelus
The infant Jesus with Mary and Joseph are a shining example of mercy and salvation for the world.  The light from the Holy Family encourages us to offer human warmth in those family situations in which there's a lack of peace, harmony, and forgiveness.  Our solidarity is just as present, especially with families undergoing difficult situations because of illness, lack of work, discrimination, and the need to emigrate.
Jesus brings the generations closer together.  He is the source of love that unites, overcoming mistrust, isolation, and distance.  Grandparents are so important in family and society.  A good relationship between young and old people is key in communities' functioning.  The Holy Family is centered on Jesus, and when a family has faith, it gives them strength to face difficult situations, as Mary and Joseph did.
  • Sir 3:2-6, 12-14  God sets parents over their children.  Honor your parents:  atone for sins, preserve yourself, store up riches, have your prayers heard, and live long.  Take care of your father; your kindness won't be forgotten.
  • Gn 15:1-6; 21:1-3  Lord / Abram:  “I'll make your reward great.” / “What good will your gifts be if I remain childless?” / “Your own issue shall be your heir.  Count the stars; just so shall your descendants be.”  Abram put his faith in the Lord, who did for Sarah as he'd promised.  Sarah bore Abraham a son; he named him Isaac.
  • Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5  "Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways."  You'll eat the fruit of your handiwork; your wife shall be like a fruitful vine and your children like olive plants around your table.
  • Ps 105:1-6, 8-9  "The Lord remembers his covenant for ever."  Praise and thank the Lord, and make his deeds known.  Seek his face, you descendents of Abraham.  He is our God and remembers his covenant.
    • Col 3:12-21 [quintessential "dress your life" reading]:  Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with and forgive one another.  Put on love, and let Christ's peace control you.  Teach one another, singing with gratitude to God.  Do everything in Jesus' name, giving God thanks through him.  Wives, be subordinate to your husbands; husbands, love your wives and don't provoke your children; children, obey your parents.
    • Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-19  By faith Abraham obeyed; he went, not knowing where.  He received power to generate, for he thought the one who promised was trustworthy.  By faith Abraham offered up Isaac; he who received the promises was ready to offer him, reasoning that God could raise the dead, and receiving Isaac back.
    • Lk 2:22-40  Mary and Joseph took Jesus to present him to the Lord.  The Spirit revealed to Simeon he'd see the Christ.  When they brought him into the temple, he took him in his arms:  “My eyes have seen your salvation, a light for the Gentiles, and glory for Israel.”  The child’s parents were amazed; Simeon told Mary, “This child is destined for the fall and rise of many, and to be a sign to be contradicted—and a sword will pierce you.”  Prophetess Anna, 84, came forward, thanked God, and spoke of the child.  The family returned to Nazareth.  The child grew, became filled with wisdom, and God's favor was on him.
      • Creighton:  Paul's writing often follows the pattern "you are [the body of Christ]; live faithfully [the reality that you are].  Today:  you are God's chosen ones; live with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, and love—virtues about relationship.  Today's me-society doesn't value humility, gentleness, or patience.  The Holy Family is a model of encountering one another while moving towards virtue.
      • One Bread One Body:  "Family feud":  Today's families are walking through a minefield; they need guidance, prayer, power, protection, God, and grace.
      • Passionist:  Family happens when we recognize God in each other.  Thank God for family at home and in the Church!
      •  Mary couldn't afford a lamb so offered two pigeons as the poor did.  Simeon, in tune with the Spirit, believed God would return and renew his chosen people, and the Messiah-King would also save the Gentiles. He recognized Jesus as the fulfillment of messianic prophecy and prophesied that he would be "a revealing light to the Gentiles." / When the Temple was destroyed, God promised to fill it with greater glory; the promise was fulfilled when Jesus came.  Through Jesus we're made living temples of the Spirit.  Simeon prophesied to Mary about the child and the suffering she'd undergo; the blessedness she was given as mother of God would become a sword piercing her heart.  Her sorrow didn't diminish her joy because of her faith, hope, and trust in God.  What do I hope for?
      • Universalis:  If not trumped by Holy Family:  Holy Innocents, martyrs, baby boys slaughtered at Herod's orders in the hope that the newborn King of the Jews was among them.  They can stand for the “unimportant”/“unnecessary” pawns that permeate history, sacrificed because they “don’t really matter.”  In God’s eyes everyone matters; no one is unimportant or unnecessary.  The honor given to these infants reminds us that our suffering for God’s sake has value even if we have little or no say in it.  We also remember those who die before birth for the convenience of those who have them killed.
      Special blessings to and prayers for our Holy Family parish and school communities in Artesia, Glendale, South Pasadena, and Wilmington!

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