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

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