December 27, 2015

Holy Family

December 27, 2015:  Holy Family

See 27 connections with today, Dec. 27?
Legend below

Psalm settings I wrote for today
Pope Francis
Homily:  Today's readings show two families on pilgrimage to the house of God.  Elkanah and Hannah bring their son to the Temple and consecrate him, and Joseph and Mary, with their son, go to Jerusalem for Passover.  It's beautiful when whole families go on pilgrimage.  In fact, family life is a series of pilgrimages.  Think of Mary and Joseph teaching Jesus how to pray!  It's the pilgrimage of education in prayer. Think how they'd pray together, and go to synagogue to listen to the Law and the Prophets, and to praise the Lord.
It's important for families to journey together!  On life's pilgrimage we share moments of prayer.   How beautiful when parents bless their children, trace the sign of the cross on them as at baptism, and entrust them to the Lord like Elkanah and Hannah and Joseph and Mary did.  Pray before meals to thank God and learn how to share with those in need.  These gestures are part of the family's formative role in the pilgrimage of life. 
Put the fruits of experience into practice.  For staying on in Jerusalem, Jesus probably had to beg his parents' forgiveness.  Moments like these become part of the pilgrimage of each family; the Lord transforms them into opportunities to grow, to ask for and to receive forgiveness, to show love and obedience.
In this Year of Mercy, may every family become a place to experience the joy of forgiveness, the love that can understand and mend mistakes.  Within the family we learn how to forgive, because we're understood and supported, whatever mistakes we make.  Don't lose confidence in the family!  Open your hearts to one another.  Where there's love, there's understanding and forgiveness....
Angelus:  By the example and witness of the Holy Family, each family can draw guidance for life and choices, and can draw strength and wisdom for the journey. Mary and Joseph teach us to welcome children as a gift from God, to rear them, cooperating with the Creator’s work and giving to the world.  In united families children mature, experiencing love, tenderness, mutual respect, mutual understanding, forgiveness, and joy.
  • 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.
  • 1 Sm 1:20-22, 24-28  Hannah bore a son, Samuel, so named since she'd asked the Lord for him.  Once he was weaned, Hannah presented him at the temple:  I am the woman who stood near you praying for this child.  Now I give him to the Lord.”  She left him there.
  • Ps 128:1-5  "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 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10  "Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord."  I yearn for your lovely dwelling place; I cry out for God.  Hear our prayer, and look on your anointed.
  • 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.
  • 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24  See what love the Father has bestowed on us!  We're God’s children and shall be like him.  Believe in Jesus Christ, and love one another.  Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them...
  • Lk 2:41-52  When Jesus was 12, his parents went away with him for Passover but left him behind without realizing it.  When they didn't find him in the caravan, they returned to look for him.  In three days they found him in the temple, listening to the teachers, asking questions, and amazing people with his understanding.  Mary, astonished / Jesus:  “Why have you done this to us?  We've been anxious looking for you.” / Didn't you know I'd be in my Father’s house?”  They didn't understand.  He returned with them to Nazareth, obeyed them, and advanced in wisdom, age, and favor.
    • Creighton:  Today's gospel shows us the humanness of Mary, Joseph, and the boy Jesus.  How do we treat our family?  Do we let go of past wrongs?  ("Wives, be subordinate to your husbands" was written when men were head of household, and women's work was restricted.) 
      • Jesus placed in a manger after being born in a stable, showing God's love and the family's poverty and rejection.  Unfortunately, families today are also rejected, and family members reject one another.  May we forgive those who have sinned against us and rejected us.
      • Their flight to Egypt.  Many families don't survive.  May we hear and obey the Lord to be saved and defeat today's Herods.
      • Jesus found in the Temple.  Families and members 'lose' Jesus, separated from him.  May all families seek the Lord as Savior, Love, and Hope...
    • Passionist:  Today’s feast is about the meaning of the Incarnation.  In today’s gospel, Mary and Joseph have an adolescent, and he's missing.  A lost child is an occasion of worry, fear, blame, guilt, and heartbreak for good parents.  We will find Jesus in our experience of God:  compassion, tenderness, mercy, forgiveness, hope.  Holy Family is about Christmas crashing into our lives, the coming together of human and divine, material and spiritual....
    •  "I must be in my Father's house":  God taught his people his way of  love of God and neighbor.  God's covenant love binds people together as his children and binds man and woman in marriage.  God wants his love to be the center of our relationships and actions.  Jesus was born into a family devoted to the word of God, but we know little about his home life, though he was surely taught scripture.  Jewish home life was centered on family prayers, psalm singing, and scripture reading, Sabbath observance.  He would have been required to memorize the Torah by the age of 13 and practice the counsels in Proverbs and Sirach.  He traveled with his parents the 80 miles (3 days) from Nazareth to Jerusalem for Passover every year; today's gospel is from one such journey....
    Remember this cute anachronism?  I recalled it because in it Mary treasures things, as she does in today's gospel.
    • Sunday-trumped saint, from Universalis:  John the Evangelist, Zebedee's son, nicknamed by Jesus “son of thunder” (as brother James).  At Jesus' Transfiguration and empty tomb,  Jesus put his mother in his care.  Exiled to island of Patmos; died at Ephesus.  See Catholic Encyclopedia.
    Dress legend
    • Tie with grapes and other fruit:  Hannah brought Samuel to the temple with bull, flour, and wine (1st reading); your wife will be like a fruitful vine; You who walk in the Lord's ways shall eat the fruit of your handiwork (psalm)
    • 'Castle' button:  "Blessed are they who dwell in Your house." "How lovely is Your dwelling place" (psalm)
    • 'Shield' tie pin:  God, behold our shield (psalm)
    • 'Girl with heart' pin:  Sing with grateful hearts; love your wives; love one another; put on love; let Christ's peace Christ control your hearts; if our hearts don't condemn us, we have confidence in God... (2nd reading); My heart and my flesh cry out for God (psalm)
    • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin:  Christmas; do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (2nd reading)
    • 'Holy Spirit' pin:  We know he remains in us from the Spirit (2nd reading)
    • 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 you (2nd reading)
    • 'Treble clef with cross' tie pin:  Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (2nd reading)
    • 'Owl' tie pin:  Teach each other in wisdom (2nd reading); Jesus advanced in wisdom (gospel)
    • '?' tie pin:  Jesus' and parents' questions (gospel)
    • NEW 'Magnifying glass' (on key) pin:  Jesus' parents searched for him (gospel)
    • White shirt:  color of today's celebration
    Special blessings to and prayers for our Holy Family parish and school communities in Artesia, Glendale, South Pasadena, and Wilmington!

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