December 30, 2018

Holy Family

December 30, 2018:  Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

See 28 connections with today?
Legend below

For Psalm 128
For Psalm 84
    For future celebrations
    The Holy Family was united by intense love and animated by great confidence in God.  When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, they were astonished; and Mary expressed her concern to Jesus.  Astonishment is the opposite of taking everything for granted; it's opening yourself to others, important for healing compromised relationships and curing family wounds.
    Mary and Joseph's anxiety shows the centrality of Jesus in the Holy Family.  The family was holy because it was centered on Jesus.  Their anxiety should also be ours when we're far from Jesus, when we forget him, go without prayer or reading the gospel for several days.  As Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the Temple, we should seek him in the house of God, especially in the liturgy, where Jesus' Word and Eucharist give us strength to face daily difficulties.  Pray for families, especially those lacking peace and harmony; entrust them to the Holy Family's protection.
    • 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.
    • Msgr. Albert Bahhuth homily videoGrow in holiness, your relationship with God; help your family to.  Listen to God; reflect; live your faith.  Love makes obedience easier.  What's your next step?
    • Creighton:  Today we remember how Jesus grew up in family life, shaped by Mary and Joseph.  The readings are about belonging to each other.  Sirach entreats parents and children to love and honor each other.  Paul’s letter offers us tools to care for each other:  compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, bearing with each other.  The gospel recounts how Mary and Joseph found 12-year-old Jesus who didn't rejoin the family caravan after a pilgrimage to the Temple, then how he was obedient to them.  Our faith and family lives converge in ordinary places:  the kitchen table, putting our children to bed, catch-up phone calls....  Jesus is present and joyful in family traditions, in our prayers together.  May we recognize God present in the laundry room, on a stroll..., and draw closer to him.
      The Holy Family/ Gutierrez
    • PassionistWhy don't we sacrament like Reconciliation where we tell the priest what we've done right?  Conscience tells us what’s right and what’s wrong.  Why don't we also acknowledge when we've done something right?  Then gratitude would follow, acknowledging the Author of all good.  When Mary visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth detected her good qualities and praised her, and Mary responded with gratitude, knowing the Giver.  “Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns and inspired songs.”
    •  "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....

    • Social network ChristmasRemember this cute anachronism?  I recalled it because in it Mary treasures things, as she does in today's gospel.
    Dress legend
    • 'Bull' pin:  Hannah brought Samuel to the temple with a bull... (1st reading)
    • Tie with grapes and other fruit:  ...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)
    • 'Children' pin:  Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children (1st reading); your children shall be like olive plants (psalm); obey your parents; we're God's children (2nd reading)
    • 'Castle' button:  "Blessed are they who dwell in Your house." "How lovely is Your dwelling place" (psalm)
    • 'Walker' tie pin:  Blessed those who walk in the Lord's ways (psalm)
    • 'Love' suspenders sticker:  Love your wives; love one another; put on love; see what love the Father bestowed on us (2nd reading)
    • 'Clock' pin:  Put on patience (2nd reading)
    • 'Eyeball' pin:  We'll see him as he is. (2nd reading)
    • 'Heart' clip:  Sing with grateful hearts; let Christ's peace Christ control your hearts; if our hearts don't condemn us, we have confidence in God... (2nd reading); my heart cries out for God (psalm); Mary kept these things in her heart (gospel)
    • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin:  Christmas season; do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (2nd reading)
    • 'Dove' pin:  We know he remains in us from the Spirit (2nd reading)
    • 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 you (2nd reading)
    • '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)
    • 'Magnifying glass' (on key) pin:  Jesus' parents searched for him (gospel)
    • 'Celebrate teaching' pin:  They found Jesus sitting in the midst of the teachers (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!

    December 29, 2018

    Dec. 29

    December 29, 2018:  5th day in Christmas Octave

    See 20 connections with today?Legend below
    For Psalm 96
    • 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:  Can we understand the Christian vocation as writing the tune to God's Word?  Today's readings speak of word and song:  "God's love is perfected in whomever keeps God's word."  "Sing to the Lord a new song."  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."  The Word comes first, and we're urged to sing, to set the Word to song with our lives as melody.  God calls each to respond uniquely to his invitation.  Each day presents us the chance to set the Word we've been given to song.  Each saint wrote their own melody, faithful to the same Word.  May we find the tune that best brings out God's love.
    • One Bread, One Body:  "Love to obey":  In today's Gospel, obedient and faithful Jews Mary and Joseph gladly do everything according to the law of Moses.  Today, some short-circuit the Lord's commands, cutting corners, choosing what to obey.  It's not popular to obey the Lord, though his commands aren't burdensome.  Show the Lord you love him; obey him.
    • Passionist:  John tells us to walk in the way of Christ through the commandments of love of God and neighbor, then says what it means to walk in the light and in darkness.  Two leaders of England made choices:  Henry II walked in darkness, wanting more power; Thomas Becket followed the path of light and was changed by Light.  Even in Jesus' time people thought that they were following God through the commandments and laws but became blinded by them and couldn't see the Light when it appeared.  The Light has come.  We can choose to walk in the Light or to choose darkness. Simeon awaited the Light all his life; God blessed him to be able to see the Light.  We don’t need to wait...
    •  "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
    • 'Law scroll' pin:  Keep God's commandments... (1st reading)
    • 'Love' suspenders sticker:  ...and his love will be perfected in you (1st reading)
    • 'Walker' tie pin, 'WWJD' pin:  Walk as he walked (1st reading)
    • '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)
    • '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)
    • 'Clef' tie pin:  Sing to the Lord (psalm)
    • 'Olympics' pin:  Let the earth rejoice!  Tell his glory among the nations (psalm); a light to the Gentiles and glory for Israel (gospel)
    • 'Mary' pin:  Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the Temple (gospel)
    • 'Signs' tie:  This child is destined to be a sign that will be contradicted (gospel)
    • 'Heart' clip: the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed (gospel)
    • 'Dove' pin:  The Spirit was upon Simeon, revealed he'd see the Christ (gospel)
    • 'Sword' pin:  Mary, a sword will pierce you (gospel)
    • 'Peace sign' tie bar:  "Lord, let your servant go in peace" (gospel)
    • 'Blood drop' pin:  St. Thomas Becket, martyr
    • "No-'L'" button, white shirt:  Christmas season

    December 28, 2018

    Holy Innocents

    December 28, 2018:  Holy Innocents, Martyrs

    • 'Lights' tie:  God is light (1st reading)
    • Red shirt:  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:  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.
    • "Happy birthday, Jesus" pin, "No-L" button:  Christmas season
      • 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:  We can learn from Herod, the cruel jealous ruler who ordered the massacre.  We're capable of sacrificing others for our own advancement, of hurting others so we look better or improve our position.  We can profit from considering the Lord’s standard of poverty/simplicity to not seeking being honored, and humility before God.  The Holy Family were refugees who had to leave their homeland to escape violence, leaving everything behind except their dignity, which we all need to respect.
      • One Bread, One Body:  Herod massacred innocent children. Today thousands of innocent children are killed daily through surgical and chemical abortions, a death toll unprecedented in history.  Prayer and fasting are the most effective weapons in fighting the culture of death (EV 100). "Our battle is against principalities and powers, rulers of this world of darkness, evil spirits..." Some demons can't be driven out except by prayer and fasting.  May we not let demons use today's Herods to massacre innocent children.
        The Martyrdom of the Holy Innocents/ Dore
      • Passionist:  Receive into the arms of Your mercy all innocent victims, frustrate tyrants, and establish justice, love, and peace.  The holy innocents' lives were cut short thanks to a demonic ruler.  An innocent newborn baby reminds us of God’s love for all humanity.  We live in a world that seems void of innocence, compassion, and mercy.  Today's Herods spread the message of greed, corruption, and control.  Innocent victims are all around us:  the homeless, the poor, the underemployed....  May we focus on justice, love, and peace, frustrate tyrants, and raise up the innocent whenever we can....
      •  "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....
      • Universalis:  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 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, 2018


      December 27, 2018:  St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

      See over a dozen connections with today?
      Legend below

      For 1st reading
      For Psalm 97
      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:  In today’s gospel from John, we hear of Peter and “…the other disciple” running to the tomb where Jesus had been laid after his crucifixion, and seeing that the tomb was empty except for his burial cloths, blood and sweat stained.  Did they remember the joy they felt when he was with them, the quiet and stillness?  Were they filled with hope?  The infant Jesus was the promise, hope, and joy long foretold; the risen Christ is the abiding promise, hope, and joy.
        St. John the Evangelist/ Domenichino
      • One Bread, One Body:  "Better than the incarnation?"  John spectacularly proclaims the Incarnation:  God beyond time and space entered into both to be with us, to become flesh and dwell among us.  Human beings could see, touch, hear, even eat Jesus, Word made flesh.  John never got over the truth of the Incarnation, that God could be embraced, heard, and seen; he even leaned against Jesus and felt his heartbeat.  He knew what he was talking about when he wrote of the Word becoming flesh.  But Jesus told him, "It's better for you that I go" back to heaven.  John knew that Jesus' presence would remain in "a more excellent" way through the Holy Spirit and the Eucharist:  "We know he remains in us from the Spirit he gave us."  He tells us that Jesus promises that anyone who "feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me...."
      • Passionist:  John loved proclaiming the good news; he wanted others to see what he'd seen, touch what he'd touched.  He wanted to share Jesus' words and God's love.  Proclaiming made him happy:  “We write this so our joy may be complete.”  John is full of proclamations about God’s love.  May we remember the joy of opening eyes to God's love and use each moment as an opportunity to proclaim the good news!
      •  "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