December 17, 2016

Dec. 17

December 17, 2016:  Saturday, 3rd week, Advent

  • 'Owl' tie pin:  "O Sapientia"/"O Wisdom," today's O Antiphon
  • 'Scales of justice' pin:  Justice shall flourish... (psalm)
  • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  ...and fullness of peace (psalm); clipped to scales to recall yesterday's "Justice and peace shall kiss"
  • 'Musical notes' tie:  In memory of fellow St. Bede Choir member Kurt Kocourek, RIP, whose funeral is today
  • Purple shirt and suspenders:  Advent season

Music bonus:  printable Christmas carol booklets
Pope Francis
Friday homily:  Today's gospel presents John the Baptist as the “witness”; his vocation is to give witness to Jesus, to point out Jesus, like a lamp that points out where the light is.  He was the voice that bore witness to the Word of God; he was the preacher of penitence who baptized and made clear that a greater one would come and baptize in fire and the Spirit.
He's the place-holder who points out the definitive figure, Jesus.  This is his greatness, demonstrated whenever people asked him whether he was the Messiah and he said no.  His torch of testimony wasn't put out by the wind of vanity, his voice not diminished by pride.  He opened the gate to the Father's voice:  “This is my Son.”  John is humble; he annihilates himself, taking the same road Jesus later took, emptying himself.  It would be like that to the end:  in prison, beheaded because of a dancing girl's whim, an adulteress's envy, and a drunkard's weakness.  
Ask yourself, has my Christian life always opened the road to Jesus, pointed him out?  Give thanks for the times it has, and continue to be his witnesses.  May John help you in this path.... 
Birthday Mass:  Memory–not merely recollection–of parents, ancestors, friends, relatives, signs of life well and fully lived–but especially memory of God present throughout salvation history. is the hallmark of Christian life.  In Advent we started the journey of vigilant expectation of the Lord.  Today we look back and see the journey has been beautiful, the Lord faithful.  We also see there have been moments of fidelity and of sin, but the Lord is there to help us up and say, "Forward!"  Christian life is going forward, towards the definitive encounter.  Don't let the journey take away the grace of memory, of looking back at what the Lord has done for us and the Church.  The Church reads Jesus' genealogy because it's the story of a God who chose to walk with his people and become himself, in the end, a man, like each of us. Remember what I told you at our first meeting:  "Old age is the seat of wisdom."  Let's hope so.  "With silent steps, old age slips up on you" (Ovid).  It's a blow, but when you think of it as a stage of life to give joy, wisdom, and hope, you begin to live again, right?  And I think of another poem that I quoted to you:  ]: “Old age is quiet and religious” (Hölderlin).  More
Wish him a happy 80th birthday!
  • Gn 49:2, 8-10  Jacob to sons:  Scepter shall never depart from Judah, while he receives homage.
  • Ps 72:1-4ab, 7-8, 17  "Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever."  Blessed be the King who shall govern with justice, defend the afflicted, save the poor...
  • Mt 1:1-17  Genealogy of Jesus Christ:  14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to Babylonian exile, 14 from exile to Christ.
          • Today's O Antiphon:  O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love:  come to teach us the path of knowledge!
          • Creighton:  God can work through the most unlikely people:  second-borns, manipulators, schemers.  Jesus' family, like mine, has its characters, but God came in spite of the imperfection.  The "path of knowledge," with power and love, isn't just head knowledge but heart knowledge.  Today's O antiphon expresses longing and anticipation  God accepts and works with our imperfections, wounds, and darkness.  We're all called to carry Christ, all invited into a deeper path of knowledge guided by power and love.  When we're worried about our unworthiness, may we remember Jesus’ family tree....
          • One Bread, One Body:  "The tree of life":  Each of us is a member of God's family, created in his image, carved on the palm of his hand, part of Jesus' family record.  Jesus loves you whether or not you live your life for him.  May we fill him with joy by offering ourselves to him, giving him the present of our whole life.
          • Passionist:  Today’s readings testify Jesus will be a king unlike others and a savior easy to overlook:  Jacob tells his son he'll conquer his enemies, receive homage, and be like a lion everyone fears to approach, but the psalm foretells a rule with God's wisdom, mercy, and goodness, full of justice and peace, where the poor will be defended, not crushed, and suffering will be comforted, not ignored.  The gospel recounts Jesus' genealogy from Abraham to Joseph.  God works through human beings, including dramatically flawed ones.  It's easy to miss his blessing, because God enters our world as a helpless child in a family of refugees, not in majesty.  To prepare for Christ's coming, we must look for Jesus where we least expect him.  Jesus is before us, beseeching our help, in the stranger, immigrants, refugees, the poor, the homeless....  Are we open to receive him, them, and help?
          •  "The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David":  Genealogies show us our roots and help us understand our heritage.  Jesus is the direct descent of Abraham and David, rightful heir to David's throne.  God fulfilled his promises to Abraham and David to send a Savior and King to rule the house of Israel and deliver them.  Jacob foretold that Judah would receive the promise of royalty to be fulfilled in David. We also see in the blessing a foreshadowing of God's fulfillment in raising up his Messiah king.  Jesus fulfills God's promises; he's the hope for all nations, Savior of the world in whom we receive adoption into a royal priesthood and holy nation as God's children living God.  May we accept our spiritual genealogy....

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