December 31, 2017

Holy Family

December 31, 2017:  Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

See 22 connections with today?
Legend below

For today's psalms
For future celebrations
Pope Francis Angelus
Today's Holy Family celebration invites us to reflect on the experience of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus as they grow together as a family in mutual love and trust in God.  Jesus' parents went to the temple to certify that their child belonged to God and that they were the guardians, not owners, of his life.  Only God is the Lord of individual and family history; everything comes from him.  Every family is called to recognize this, guarding and educating children to be open to God, the source of life.  Simeon's prophecy reveals that Jesus came to bring down our false images of God and ourselves, to "contradict" our 'certainties,' to make us "rise" to a journey based on gospel values.  Whenever a family returns to the source of Christian experience, new paths and possibilities open up.
Mary and Joseph returned to their town of Nazareth, where Jesus grew and was filled with wisdom and grace.  Children's growth is a great joy for a family; they're destined to mature, become strong, acquire wisdom, and receive God's grace, as Jesus did.  He truly became a child, and his parents experienced the joy of seeing him mature.  Families are called to create the best conditions for their children's growth, so they may live good lives, worthy of God and constructive for the world.  Mary, Queen of the Family, pray for all families.
  • 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 128:1-5  "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 descendants 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:  Today's readings don't say Abraham knew how God would fulfill his promise of an heir, but he believed his promise because he considered God trustworthy.  Since he doesn't think Sarah will bear the son, he proposes to adopt his servant Eliezer, but God said Abraham's own issue would be the heir.  Since he still didn't think Sarah would bear the heir, he proposed Hagar.  When God said Sarah would be the mom, Abraham and Sarah both laughed. When Sarah had the son, they named him Isaac ('he who laughs').  I can believe God's words but then decide to 'help' by telling him how to fulfill them, but the Abraham story teaches me to trust God and remember his ways aren't mine.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The real thing":  When a baby boy is born, some orthodox Jews use the occasion to discuss the Messiah's coming, starting with, "Could this baby be the Messiah?"  Some may have thought Simeon and Anna were doing this when talking about Jesus.  We face a similar situation:  when we proclaim Jesus as Messiah, some may think it's just church-talk, but we must be Spirit-filled like Anna and Simeon and proclaim he's the real thing....
      Jesus in a baby walker/ Clèves Master

    • Passionist:  Christ is here; we need to recognize him in our midst.  At the temple likely nobody recognized Mary, Joseph, and Jesus except for Simeon and Anna.  In our experience, are we like them, open to the Spirit, or the rest who went about ignoring the gift of God?  Who is the “Holy Family” of today?  We're all God's children, so we're all in the same family.  As people clean up after Christmas, let's clean up our lives of things we don’t need but keep the true Gift of Christmas.  Father, help us be your hands and bring our special gifts to those in need….
    •  "The favor of God was upon him":  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?
    Dress legend
    • 'Children' pin:  Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children (1st reading)
    • '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.)
    • 'Walker' tie pin:  Blessed those who walk in the Lord's ways (psalm)
    • 'Fruit with grapes' tie:  You who walk in the Lord's ways shall eat the fruit of your handiwork; your wife shall be like a fruitful vine (psalm)
    • 'Hearts' suspenders:  Rejoice, hearts that seek the Lord (alt. psalm); sing with gratitude in your hearts; love your wives; grateful hearts (2nd reading); "This child will be a sign of contradiction so the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (gospel)
    • Dressing today:  'Put on' compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience (2nd reading)
    • 'Bear' tie bar:  'Bear' with one another (2nd reading)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  Let Christ's peace control your hearts (2nd reading)
    • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin:  Christmas (season); do everything in Jesus' name (2nd reading)
    • 'Musical note' tie pin:  Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (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)
    • 'Dove' tie pin:  The Holy Spirit was on Simeon, revealing he'll see the Christ (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  "My eyes have seen your salvation,..." (gospel)
    • 'Street light' tie bar:  "...a light for the nations" (gospel)
    • White shirt:  Color of today's celebration
    Special blessings to and prayers for our Holy Family parish and school communities in

    December 30, 2017

    Dec. 30

    December 30, 2017:  6th day, Christmas Octave

    • 'Crown' tie bar:  Say, The Lord is king (psalm)
    • 'Children' pin:  I write to you, children, because you know the Father. (1st reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  All in the world... enticement for the eyes... is not from the Father. (1st reading)
    • 'Owl' pin:  Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom (gospel)
    • 'Mele Kalikimaka' shirt, NoëL pin:  Christmas season
    • 1 Jn 2:12-17  Children, your sins have been forgiven.  Fathers, you know Him.  Young men, God's word is in you, and you've conquered the Evil One.  Children, you know the Father.  If you love the world, the Father's love isn't in you; all in the world is not from the Father.  The world is passing away, but if you do God's will, you'll remain.
      Not this Anna
    • Ps 96:7-10  "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"  Praise and worship the Lord; God is king and governs with equity.
    • Lk 2:36-40  Prophetess Anna, 84, worshiped night and day.  She thanked God and spoke about the child.  Joseph, Mary, and Jesus returned to Nazareth; Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and God's favor.

    • Creighton:  In the 1st reading, fathers are asked to keep their commitments, young men are asked to stay strong and enthusiastic, and children are embraced for their faith.
    When Mary and Joseph present Baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon prophesies the significance of his life, and patient Anna confirms the prophesy.  Married seven years until her husband's premature death, she waited decades for God, then found him in this baby.  Others had no clue, but she understood he'd fulfill ancient promises.  Lord, help us awaken, make our souls permeable to your light and presence, and help us learn from the witness of your prophets....
      Anna in the Temple/ Bacik
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Anna didn't miss her day":  After decades of coming to the Temple daily, how easy would it have been for Anna not to have been alert the one day the Messiah showed up.  Without the advance notice Simeon had, she had to be alert every day, like the wise virgins who kept their lamps filled to be ready for the master.  May we be like Anna, listening daily to the Lord in faith.
    • Passionist:  The Christmas message is as fresh now as it ever was:  God loved us so much that he sent us his Son.  Let's keep the Christmas spirit alive all year by bringing Jesus to others with our words and actions:  words of affection, positive, encouraging words, "I'm sorry," "I forgive you," "Welcome"; smiling, giving food, giving time, listening, comforting the bereaved, working for peace, and helping the brokenhearted....  “Christmas is... a state of mind.  To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.  If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending hope to the world” (Coolidge).
    •  "Anna recognized Christ's coming and thanked God":  Those who trust God won't be disappointed.  God has placed in his people a longing and hope for a Redeemer to bring us peace, joy, and justice.  God's plan of redemption unfolds in Jesus' Incarnation and birth before all ages, who became flesh to redeem us.  Luke records Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple 40 days after his birth for the Jewish ceremony for the "redemption of the firstborn" and ritual purification of the mother.  Anna, Spirit-filled prophet of 84, immediately recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah and heir to David's throne, thanked God, and spoke of him.  She dedicated her life to serving God through prayer and fasting.  Like Simeon and the Old Testament prophets, she was attentive to God and spoke under the Spirit's inspiration of God's saving plan.  Despite the loss of her husband and the trials of advancing age, she persevered in worship and trust.
    Anna is a model of faith and hope to us all.  When we meet trials and setbacks, we can get discouraged, grow cynical, or despair, but disappointments can press us closer to God.  May we trust God and receive his grace, strength, hope, love, and joy.  God gives us hope for a home and happiness in his kingdom of justice, peace, and joy.  The Holy Spirit renews and strengthens our hope and enables us to persevere in the face of any challenge we face.  Lord, flood my heart with your peace, joy, and love; help me offer everything to you.  Give me all I need to love and serve you unreservedly....

    December 29, 2017

    Dec. 29

    December 29, 2017:  Fifth day, Christmas Octave

    See a dozen connections with today?
    Legend below
    For Psalm 96
    Pope Francis to theologians
    The world needs a theology capable of helping Christians to proclaim our merciful God's salvific Face.  We're immersed in the joyous contemplation of the mystery of God, who so involved and compromised himself in our humanity as to send his son and to take on our fragile flesh.  The Incarnation is the starting point for theological reflection.  Theology will never exhaust the living Fount of divine Love, which allowed himself to be touched, looked upon, and savored in the manger.
    I invite you to creative fidelity in your reflections.  Be faithful to Vatican II in your theological efforts and inspired by the perennial newness of the Gospel.
    Your efforts to do theology together express an essential element of Truth, at whose service theology is placed.  You can't serve the Truth of God–who is Love and eternal communion of Father, Son, and Spirit, and whose saving plan is of communion of humanity with him and among themselves–in an individualistic manner.  Theological research is personal but done by persons immersed in a theological community.
    You don't need theological training to be a believer, but there's a sense of the realities of faith that pertains to the whole people of God.  These are the eyes of faith.  Every theologian must be immersed in and supported, transported, and embraced by living faith.  Challenges facing theology today include the ecological crisis, genetic modification of human DNA, social inequality, migration, and theoretical and practical relativism.  To confront these realities, a theology is needed, done by Christians at the service of churches and of the Church.
    Two turtle doves
    • 1 Jn 2:3-11  If you say you know Jesus but don't keep his commandments, you're a liar, but if you keep his word, God's love is in you.  If you hate others, you're in darkness, but if you love them, you're in the light.
    • Ps 96:1-3, 5b-6  "Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!"  Sing to the Lord.  Announce his salvation, glory, and wondrous deeds.
    • Lk 2:22-35  Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to the Lord.  The Spirit revealed to Simeon he'd see the Christ.  He took Jesus in his arms:  “I've seen the salvation you prepared, a light for the nations and glory for Israel.”  Mary and Joseph were amazed.  Simeon to Mary:  “He's destined for the fall and rise of many, and to be a sign to be contradicted (and a sword will pierce you) so the thoughts of many may be revealed.”
    • Creighton:  If you say you're following Christ but you're not living his commandments, you're not in union with him.  If you say you love someone but don't help them, you're in darkness.  Today's gospel is about when Jesus was in temple for a rite:  the mother's ritual purification and son's consecration to the Lord.  Luke is pointing out that the Holy Family was Jewish and followed the rules that bound all Jews.  We can celebrate Jesus' birth but forget we need to follow rules:  love for God and love of neighbor.
    Holy Simeon acknowledges Jesus as the Christ, foretells the contradictory nature Jesus' ministry, and predicts Mary will feel pain from his ministry.  Jesus won't be the leader the people had been praying for.  Mary will have difficulty understanding her son and will suffer as he is misunderstood and crucified.  We need to love as Jesus loved and discern what he calls us to.
      Presentation of Jesus in the Temple/ Bellini
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Love to obey; obey to love":  Out of love and obedience, Mary and Joseph kept God's commandments, including circumcision of the male child and purification of the mother.  They could have felt their special circumstances put them above the law, but they obeyed in spirit, freedom, gratitude, humility, and love, and were rewarded with Simeon's and Anna's prophecies.  Often people who claim to love the Lord fail to obey him with their actions, but we show our love for God by keeping his commandments, which are not burdensome.
    • Passionist:  Today's readings remind us of the gift of Jesus' birth.  The 1st reading tells us to walk in the way of Christ through the commandments; Christ commanded his apostles, and us, to love God and love others.  The message says that walking in the light requires us to love our 'brother' (others).  In the gospel Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple and offer sacrifice, and Simeon prophesies:  “Lord, let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled:  I have seen the salvation you prepared, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people.”  “A light to reveal you . . .” reminds me to be a light that reveals God to others. How am I growing in faith?  Do I pray and reflect on the readings?  Do I listen to the homily?  Am I open to God's call?  I can’t be light if I don’t have light.
    •  "God's favor was on him":  Mary fulfills the rite of purification after childbirth, offering pigeons since they couldn't afford a lamb.  This rite, with circumcision, recalls that children are God's gifts.  Jesus was born in an ordinary home, reared in the fear and wisdom of God, obeyed his parents, and grew in wisdom and grace.  How do I listen to God's word, submit to God, and help the young grow in wisdom and maturity?
    Simeon believed the Lord would return and renew his people.  The Spirit also revealed to him that the Messiah would also bring salvation to the Gentiles.  When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple, Simeon, recognizing the child as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies, and inspired by the Spirit, prophesied Jesus would be "a revealing light to the Gentiles."  The Spirit reveals the Lord to those eager to receive him.
    Jesus is the new temple.  God led his people through the wilderness, showing himself in a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire.  His glory came over the ark and the tabernacle.  When the first Jerusalem temple was built, God's glory rested there.  When the temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God's glory leave, but God promised to fill it with greater glory, a promise fulfilled when the King of Glory came to his temple.  Through Jesus' incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension we're made living temples of his Spirit....
    Simeon prophesied to Mary about the child's destiny and her suffering. Mary was blessed to be the Christ Child's mother, but a sword pierced her as he died on the cross; she received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow, but the sorrow didn't diminish her joy because of her faith and hope.  The Lord gives us joy to bear any sorrow or pain, and no one will take it.
    The hope God places in us is the desire for his kingdom and everlasting life and happiness.  The Spirit gives hope that enables us to persevere.   What holds me back from trusting God unreservedly?....
    Today's saints, from Universalis
    • Elijah and Elisha, a reflection on St. Thomas:  Prophets Elijah and Elisha have similar names, and some of their miracles are so similar that some scholars have argued they're the same person.  Today’s feast reminds us of another historical coincidence:  King Henry of England appoints learned Thomas, his close and trusted friend, to a high office where he is expected to be loyal and take the king’s part against others, even the Church.  Conscious of his unworthiness for the office, Thomas undergoes an interior conversion and resolves to follow God’s voice within him.  His upholding of truth and the Church’s rights leads to a conflict with the king, who feels betrayed.  Thomas is killed, eventually canonized.  (This applies to both Henry II and Thomas Becket, and Henry VIII and Thomas More.)
    Dress legend
    • 'Dove' pin:  Spirit was upon Simeon (gospel)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  Darkness has blinded the eyes of those who hate their brother (1st reading); “My eyes have seen the salvation you prepared in everyone's sight.” (gospel)
    • 'Olympics' pin:  Let the earth rejoice!  Tell his glory among the nations (psalm)
    • 'Sword' pin:  Mary, a sword will pierce you (gospel)
    • 'Street lamp' tie bar:  The true light is shining; love others = remain in the light (1st reading); "I've seen your salvation, a light to reveal you..." (gospel)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Lord, let your servant go in peace" (gospel)
    • 'Mary' pin:  Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple (gospel)
    • 'Law scroll' pin:  Keep Jesus' commandments (1st reading)

    December 28, 2017

    Holy Innocents

    December 28, 2017:  Holy Innocents, Martyrs

    • 'Christmas lights' tie:  God is light (1st reading)
    • Red shirt, 'blood drop' pin:  Martyrdom of Holy Innocents; Jesus' blood cleanses us (1st reading)
    • 'Bird' pin:  Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare (psalm)
    • 'Angel' pin:  Angel appeared to Joseph in a dream (gospel)
    • 'Magnifying glass' pin:  Herod searching for the child to destroy him (gospel)
    • 'Gun' pin (oops; forgot; see here):  Herod ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under (gospel)
    • 'OneLife LA' button:  Holy Innocents, help us to respect all human life.
      You want to deepen, together, the true sources of joy.  Gospel joy fills the hearts and lives of those who meet Jesus.  Those who let him save them are free from sin, sadness, emptiness, isolation.  With Christ joy is born and reborn forever.  Live in this joy that comes from your friendship with Jesus that never closes us to others.  Stay connected with the Lord by praying and listening to his Word, so he may help you develop your talents and promote a culture of mercy based on encounter with others free of indifference and not turning away from others' suffering.  May the Holy Spirit help you rejoice and enrich each other with your diverse gifts, and show that gospel joy unites us beyond the wounds of our divisions.  Walk the paths of brotherhood so that your meeting will make visible the joyful communion that springs from the Lord's overflowing heart.
      • 1 Jn 1:5—2:2  God is light; in him is no darkness.  If we walk in the light, we have fellowship...  If we acknowledge our sins, he will forgive and cleanse us.  Advocate Jesus Christ is expiation for our sins and the world's.
      • Ps 124:2-5, 7cd-8  "Our soul has been rescued like a bird from the fowler’s snare."  Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
      • Mt 2:13-18  Angel to Joseph:  “Flee to Egypt; Herod wants to destroy the child.”  They departed.  Herod, realizing the magi deceived him, ordered the massacre of all the boys two years old and under.
      • Creighton:  There are dark places in the world, and within me.  Darkness in the world is overwhelming and beyond understanding.  But God is light.  God loves us and will be faithful and just if we acknowledge our sins. We must try to banish darkness and walk in the light; choosing to be light in small ways every day.  We can be kind, listen even when we're busy, be thankful, say we're sorry, pray, help others, challenge ourselves to be a light for justice.  Lord, help me walk in light.
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Recover your innocence":  Christ became man to overcome the bondage and death due to sin.  Jesus came to declare the victory of innocence over evil, of the Spirit over the flesh.  Today's feast celebrates the victory of innocence over perversion and evil.  There's no freedom as great as the freedom of life in Christ.  Though we may have lost the innocence of childhood and though our sins be entrenched, in Jesus' blood we are washed clean.  So we offer Jesus our sin-stained hearts, and he turns our death into life, our sin into holiness, our slavery into "the freedom of God's children." "The sanctifying power of this night...restores innocence to the fallen" (Exsultet).  Rachel, mourning her slain child, thinks her weeping and loss are irreversible, but Jeremiah's prophecy of her wailing concludes with, "Your sorrow shall have its reward.... There's hope...."  In Jesus, your lost innocence can be restored.
        The Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents/ Dore
      • Passionist:  The tragic death of so many young innocents at the hands of a crazed, controlling ruler seems misplaced in the midst of Christmas joy.  But life holds both the tragic and the glorious, darkness and light.  We hope to see the light of Christ shine through the darkness.  The light of Christ is evident in the faces of the poor and hungry.  We pray for innocents past and present, young and old, who suffer in darkness, that they may feel God’s light and love.
      •  "Rachel weeping for her children":  Herod's massacre of children who gave their lives for a person and truth they didn't know seemed useless and unjust.  Why couldn't God prevent it?  We can't understand suffering.  These children are the first martyrs.  Suffering, persecution, and martyrdom are the lot of all Christ's disciples.  Jesus' death won eternal life for us; his blood obtained pardon and reconciliation with our Father.
      Suffering can take many forms:  illness, disease, handicap, pain, trauma, slander, abuse, poverty, injustice....  "In everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called to his purpose."  Jesus said that those who are reviled and persecuted for righteousness' sake are blessed (makarios, happy), with a serene joy, self-contained and independent from chance and changing circumstances.
      Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God, but that blessedness became a sword that pierced her heart as he died; she received a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow.  But her sorrow didn't diminish her joy fueled by faith and hope. "No one will take your joy."  God gives each of us joy that enables us to bear sorrow or pain....
      • UniversalisHoly 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 of history, sacrificed because they “don’t matter.”  In God’s eyes everyone matters.  The honor given these infants reminds us that our suffering for God’s sake has value even if we have little or no say in it.  Remember those who die before birth....

      December 27, 2017


      December 27, 2017:  St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

      See 13 connections with today?
      Legend below

      For 1st reading
      For Psalm 97
      For Creighton reflection
      Pope Francis General Audience
      The celebration of Jesus' birth is a sign of our gratitude for the Father’s gift of Jesus and our desire to ‎share him with others.  Today Christmas is distorted:  out of false respect, faith is sidelined and references to Jesus eliminated. But without Jesus there is no Christmas and local traditions are empty.  Like the shepherds, we're led to discover the light of Jesus, born of an unknown poor girl in a stable, unknown to the world but over whom the angels rejoiced.  Today the Son of God is still God’s gift to a humanity that prefers darkness, fearing God’s light will unveil our actions and thoughts, embarrass us, and prick our conscience.
      We can welcome Jesus by giving ourselves to those we encounter; this is why we exchange gifts.  God has opened the way to new life, based on love.  Those on society's margins are the first beneficiaries of God’s gift of salvation.  Jesus establishes a friendship with the small and despised that nourishes hope. ‎ With them God wants to build a world where no one is rejected, maltreated, or destitute.  Open your heart and be God’s gift to others, especially the small and excluded who have never experienced a caress, loving attention, or tenderness.
      Wordle: Readings 12-27-14
      • 1 Jn 1:1-4  We proclaim the Word of life—what was from the beginning, that we've heard, seen, and touched—so you may have fellowship with the Father, Jesus Christ, and us.

      • Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12  "Rejoice in the Lord, you just!"  The Lord is king; the heavens proclaim his justice, and all see his glory.

      • Jn 20:1a, 2-8  Mary Magdalene ran to Simon Peter and [John]:  “They've taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don't know where they put him.”  Both ran to the tomb; John arrived first and saw the burial cloths, then Peter arrived and saw them too.  John went in and believed.
      • Creighton:  Today's gospel is about Easter.  Christmas needs Easter.  Christmas is special because the baby is the son of God who grows up to save the world by his death and resurrection; his resurrection makes his birth special. Without Easter there's no Christmas, and vice versa.  “What Child Is this?” has a [Passion/] Easter verse, “Nails, spears shall pierce him through; the cross he bore for me, for you.”  “Mary did you know?” references what Jesus grows up to do.  We need to acknowledge where the story goes, so it’s good to think about Easter at Christmas.  The birth we celebrate now leads to the end of death; Jesus had to be born to die, rise, and save us.  In today's gospel Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved went to the empty tomb, and the disciple Jesus loved saw the empty tomb and believed.  Now we see the baby; in spring we'll see the empty tomb and believe.
        St. John the Evangelist/ Domenichino
        (More St. John art)
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Shocked by infinite love":  St. John has been customarily identified as the "beloved disciple."  The beloved disciple is nameless in John, possibly to indicate that all Jesus' disciples are beloved.  When we realize the Lord loves us perfectly, we're rooted and grounded, affirmed and fulfilled, freed from fear, able to give the love we've received and to live in love and in God, and willing to live and die for the Lord and others.  Let us better receive and experience the "breadth, length, height, and depth" of Christ's love.  May we be rendered speechless by realizing Love loves us.
      • Passionist:  This time between Christmas and Epiphany is like a retreat, perfect to remember and experience my relationship with God, others, and creation, to be at peace in God’s presence and silence, open to God's movement in and around me.  These moments fuel my acts of kindness, efforts for justice, and striving to be better to others....
      •  "John saw the Word made flesh and believed":   John was the first apostle to reach Jesus' empty tomb.  What did he see that led him to believe?  He must have recalled Jesus prophesying that he'd rise after three days.  John bears witness to the "Word of Life," Jesus the Word Incarnate, the word the prophets announced, the word now preached....
      • 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.
      Dress legend
      • 'Eyeball' and 'hands' pins:  We've seen the Word of Life with our eyes and touched him with our hands (1st reading); John saw and believed (gospel)
      • 'Love' suspenders sticker:  "Beloved" (1st reading); [John,] the "disciple Jesus loved" (gospel)
      • 'Crown' tie bar:  The Lord is king (psalm)
      • 'Alps' tie pin:  The mountains melt like wax before the Lord (psalm)
      • 'Christmas lights' tie:  Light dawns for the just (psalm); Christmas season
      • 'Heart' pin:  Gladness for the upright of heart (psalm)
      • '?' tie pin:  "We don't know where they put the Lord" (gospel)
      • 'Runner' tie pin:  Peter and the "beloved disciple" ran to the tomb (gospel)
      • Button:  Joyeux Noël!
      • White shirt:  Color of St. John's feast