December 31, 2015

Dec. 31

December 31, 2015:  7th day in Christmas Octave

  • 'Christmas music' tie:  Sing the Lord a new song (psalm)
  • White shirt:  The light shines; John testified to the light (gospel)
  • 'Law scroll' pin:  Moses gave the law; Jesus Christ, grace and truth (gospel)
  • 'Clock' tie bar:  "Children, it's the last hour" (1st reading)
  • 'Abacus' tie pin:  They weren't really of our number (1st reading)
  • 'Christmas trees' suspenders:  All the trees shall exult before the Lord (psalm)
  • 'Children' pin:  He gave those who accepted him power to become God's children (gospel)
  • 'Owl' pin:  Jesus, the Word, God's Wisdom (gospel)
  • 'Noël' pin:  Christmas season

  • Prepare ye, from Godspell/ Schwartz (normally associated with Advent, not Christmas, but in line with today's gospel)
Pope Francis
Audience:  In the Christmas season we remember Jesus' childhood.  The crib scene invites us to adore the Child Jesus and to contemplate the Incarnation as a revelation of God’s saving love.  Devotion to the Child Jesus can teach us much about our faith.  St Thérèse of Lisieux, who took the name Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, knew how to live and witness to the “spiritual childhood” assimilated through meditation, as Mary taught, on God's humility.  God is humble!  We, who are proud, vain, and think ourselves great stuff, are nothing, but he, the Great One, makes himself a child.  The Gospels tell us little about Jesus' childhood, but we know from experience the message newborns bring. 
Jesus in a baby walker/ Clèves Master
To grow in faith we need to contemplate the Child Jesus more often and so come to understand more fully the meaning of his coming.  Like every baby, he wants to be at the center and asks us to care for and protect him; we put Jesus at the center of our life and know, even if it seems paradoxical, it's our responsibility to protect him.  He wants to be in our embrace and fix his gaze on ours.  Make the Child smile to show him your love and joy.  His smile gives us the assurance of being loved.  Children love to play, but playing with children means abandoning our logic to enter theirs.  We need to understand what they like, not make them do what we like.  We're called to abandon our pretense of autonomy to accept true liberty, knowing and serving the one before us.  The Child is the Son of God who came among us to show us the Father's face abounding in love and mercy.  Hold him tightly in your arms and place yourself at his service.  He's the font of love and serenity.  Go to the nativity scene, kiss the Baby Jesus, say, “Jesus, I want to be humble like you,” and ask him for this grace. [Full text]
To Pueri Cantores at their Rome Congress:  A song for our Christian journey:  Motto:  Cantate spem vestram! (“Sing out your hope!”)  Christian life is a joyful journey:  sing for this.
Q/A:  Do you get angry? / Yes, but don't let a normal and inevitable human reaction to injustice or even irksome behavior become a habit. Anger poisons your soul if too long or too often indulged.
Q/A:  Will the world always be as we see it on the news, full of bad, sad, even tragic stories? /  The struggle between the devil and God will continue until the end.  Inside each of us is a struggle between good and evil, graces and temptations.  But there are many good things in the world; why aren’t they publicized?” Think of the many holy people who give their lives to help others, in deed and in prayer.
Prayer intentions for January
  • That sincere dialogue among people of different faiths produce fruits of peace and justice
  • That by means of dialogue and fraternal charity and with the grace of the Holy Spirit, Christians may overcome divisions

  • 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.
  • 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:  Lyrics for Barbara Dilly's new song, “Children, it is the last hour...  We must continue the work God's begun.”  Tune to come on her site.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Christ and the antichrists":  On this last day of the year, we read the Father is warning his children "it's the final hour."  Antichrists have appeared and are appearing, but as deceptive and powerful as they are, we with "the anointing from the Holy One," the Spirit within us, have no reason to fear.  May we end this year totally dedicated to Jesus....
      • Passionist:  Reflect on 2015, the good and the bad.  Our lives have become cluttered with selfishness, consumerism, inconsiderate behavior, lack of understanding of others, rejection, hate....  Jesus wants to live with us… with-in us.  "The Word became flesh, and made his dwelling among us."  Do I make room in my heart?  Next year I hope to lose weight (of hurt and hate), clean house (my mind and soul to make room), stop smoking (burning myself up), eat healthier (feed myself with words of life), and be a better person (treating others like they're Jesus)....
      •  "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us":  The "word of God" was a common expression for an active, creative, dynamic word.   The writer of Wisdom addresses God as the one who "made all things by your word."  God’s word is also equated with his wisdom. "The Lord by wisdom founded the earth."  "Word" and "wisdom" are seen as one and the same.  "For while silence enveloped all things, and night in its course was half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven... into the midst of the land."  Jesus is the wisdom and power of God who assumed human nature to save us. 
      "Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise.  We lost the good; it had to be given back to us.  Closed in darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator.  Are these minor?  They moved God to descend to human nature and visit it!" (Gregory of Nyssa, paraphrased)
      "The Son of God ...worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved.  Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin (Gaudium et Spes 22).
      We behold God's glory through Jesus Christ, who partook our humanity so we could partake of his divinity.   By our being united in Jesus, God becomes our Father and we become his children

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