Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

"Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged." (Colossians 3: 12... 21).

Sunday 26th December 2021, is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Our key Scripture for today is not my first choice. I am constrained to use it.
This text is sometimes cut out from the proclamation of the message from Colossians 3: 12 - 21. Why is it left out? Are the liturgists afraid of offending some fashionable women in the congregation.  Some women may think that it is old fashioned to talk about: "Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord."

"Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord." may well be the key to the success and integrity of marriage. I know I was challenged in the RCIA class on the text. The example of St Monica, the mother of St Augustine has been helpful. Augustine wrote about the experience of his mother in the CONFESSIONS. St Monica is the patron saint of married women and counseled many married women. She used the revelation in Colossians 3: 13 - 21 in her counseling. Monica was married to Patricius who was not a Christian. Patricius was ill mannered and a drunkard. "Patricius never for once laid hands on me or abused me in any way." How is that, the women wanted to know. Simple. Monica quoted Colossians 3: 13 - 21 and explained it to the women.

Pope Benedict the XVI advised the Austrian Bishops during an apostolic visitation to preach the WHOLE Gospel season and out of season. This works, stated the Pontiff.
What would become the message of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary if he announced: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with you. Bye bye." The world would still be waiting for the Incarnation.

It could be said that women bear disproportionate yoke for peace in the home. The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a family where Mary's human, womanly and spiritual gifts found the fullest expression and left us a holy example.

Holy Family of Mary, Jesus and Joseph pray for us.

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Friday, December 24, 2021

The Christmas Mystery.

"For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2: 11 - 12).

Saturday 25th December 2021, the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Solemnity of Christmas.

Our key Scripture for this Christmas Day proclaims how God's grand and mysterious works come to us. They come through SIGNS. God is a spirit and invisible. We humans are flesh and blood and material. This is why the Word of God became flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary.  We can see Him and touch Him.

In the Christmas story, let us imagine ourselves for a moment to be Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Jesus' grandparents Anne and Joachim, the Magis. All these people were able to touch Jesus physically. These people are exceptionally blessed.
We are also exceptionally blessed because we are able to touch Jesus in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, Jesus is fully present to us: His soul, body, blood and divinity.

Without faith, the touching of the infant Jesus by Mary, Joseph, Simeon, Anna, Jesus' grandparents Anne and Joachim, the Magis is meaningless. Without faith, our receiving of Jesus in the Eucharist is totally meaningless.

Faith is the key to a Happy Christmas.

Have a Happy Christmas filled with faith, hope and love.

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Thursday, December 23, 2021

You are my Father, my Rock, my Savior.

“He [David] shall say of me, ‘You are my father,
my God, the rock, my savior.’
Forever I will maintain my kindness toward him,
and my covenant with him stands firm.” (Psalm 89 Responsorial iii).

Friday 24th December 2021, 4th Week of Advent, Mass in the morning.).

Our key Scripture for today is from the Responsorial Psalm verse iii. I never read this dialogue between God the Father and David without feeling of some emotion. Call it sibling rivalry.  Why can't I say to Abba Father:  "You are my Father,
my God, the Rock, my Savior." In fact I can. You can. This is the whole meaning of Christmas.

"O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death."

"A child shall be born for us, and this is the name they shall give him: Mighty God. He shall sit upon the throne of David, his father, and rule; dominion shall be laid upon his shoulders." (Responsory - Office of the Reading).

"When you come into My presence, pour out your heart before Me: all that you suffer, all that you question, all that you fear, give all to Me. This you do already when you pray the psalms. It was through the psalms that I poured out My own Heart to My Father, and in the prayers of David and the holy ones of Israel, My Father heard My voice and inclined to listen to the prayer of My Heart." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, December 3, 2014).

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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Feast of St John Kanty, Priest and Teacher.

"When they [Relatives of Zachariah] came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, ­asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God." (Luke 1: 57.... 66).

Thursday 23rd December 2021, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St John Kanty. (1390 - 1473). Polish. Kanty is priest, professor, philosopher, physicist and theologian. What is striking about the life of St John Kanty is that this brilliant and highly educated man spent his entire priestly vocation in the ivory tower. Yet, he had the heart of a pastor of flocks. He seized every opportunity to help his needy students and the poor he encountered.

Our key Scripture for today are the words of the parents of John the Baptist affirming almost with vehemence that the name of their son is John and not something else. But what is in a name?

In ancient Hebrew theology, a name denotes and contains a person, a presence and a power.
No one assigns names to offsprings lightly. The name John means God is gracious. In this child, God promises to be gracious to the world through the birth of a holy Prophet who would herald the birth of His Son Jesus.

As we near the Solemnity of Christmas, we thank God for the life and work of St John the Baptist. We remember too St John Kanty our saint of the day who continue to inspire us by his teaching and exemplary life.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2021

I dedicate this little boy to You my God.

"Then Hannah spoke up: “Excuse me, my lord! As you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here near you, praying to the Lord.  I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted my request.  Now I, in turn, give him to the Lord; as long as he lives, he shall be dedicated to the Lord.” Then they worshiped there before the Lord." (1 Samuel 1:  26 - 28).

Wednesday 22nd December 2021, 4th Week of Advent.

This Wednesday, our key Scripture is the extraordinary generosity of Hannah, the mother of the Prophet Samuel. We know the story. This is the testimony of Hannah, the mother of Samuel to the high priest Eli.  Hannah is one of my favorite Bible characters. Why?
+ Hannah believes in prayer.
+ She believes in miracle.
+She has an incredible spirit of gratitude.

Hannah was barren. She pleaded with God for a son. At last, the Lord heard Hannah and granted her the little Samuel. When Samuel was 3 years old, Hannah brought Samuel to the Temple of the Lord and dedicated him to the Lord.  Look at the image. The little boy had never seen anyone like the high priest with his huge beard and robed in the high priestly vestment. Little Samuel was frightened and clung tightly to his mother's gown. After the dedication, Hannah went home empty handed.

Where have we noticed such extravagant generosity to God?
#1 The Widow's Mite. (Mark 12:41–44, Luke 21:1–4).
#2 The Presentation of the Child Jesus in the Temple. (Luke 2:25–35).

What are the lessons for us from Hannah's gesture to God?

#1 You can never out do God in generosity.
#2 Do not be afraid to dedicate all your time, talent and treasure to God.

God raises the needy from the dust;
from the dung heap He lifts up the poor, to seat them with nobles
and make a glorious throne their heritage. (Cf 1 Samuel 2: 8).

"The Virgin Mary, my Mother of Perpetual Help, the Mediatrix of all graces, will look after all the details, even as she did in Saint John’s home when she lived with him." (IN SINU JESU, Thursday, October 4, 2007 Saint Francis of Assisi).

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Monday, December 20, 2021

The Feast of St Peter Canisius SJ, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

Tuesday 21st December 2021, 4th Week of Advent is the feast of St Peter Canisius SJ, Priest and Doctor of the Church.

"Besides being a sage, Qoheleth taught the people what he himself knew, having weighed, studied and emended many proverbs. Qoheleth took pains to write in an attractive style and by it to convey truths(Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10).

Peter Canisius was born in Nijmegen, Holland in 1521. Peter studied canon law at Cologne University and Louvain. After his studies, he joined the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) and distinguished himself in teaching, preaching and writing. Peter Canisius became a type of Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes 12: 9-10, 12). He was a sage who shared liberally the fruits of his arduous studies in many books. "When I discovered your teaching, I devoured it. Your words brought me joy and gladness; you have called me your own, O Lord my God." (Jeremaiah 15:16) Peter Canisius could say the same thing.

In 1555, St Peter Canisius published his famous Catechism, (Summa Doctrinae Christianae), which was the Catholic answer to Luther's great work. This Catechism which was translated into more than 16 languages during Peter Canisius's life became a model for catechisms up to this day. The Lord sustained him in the priesthood till the end of his life: "The Lord has sworn an oath and he will not retract; you are a priest forever, in the line of Melchisedech" (Psalm 110:4)

St Peter Canisius died in 1597 and was canonized and declared a saint and Doctor of the Church in 1925. "He shall receive a blessing from the Lord, a reward from God his savior. Such is the race that seeks for him, that seeks the face of the God of Jacob." (Psalm 24: 5-6) His feast day is December 21.

In our key Scripture from Luke, Elizabeth made two revelations through the power of the Holy Spirit :
#1. The Mother of my Lord visits me.
#2. Mary, you are made completely righteous because like Abraham and David you dared to believe the promises of God to you.

And you Reader, do you believe in the promises of God to you?
The period of waiting and expectations will soon be over. You receive in proportion to your desire and expectations.

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Sunday, December 19, 2021

Behold I am the maid servant of the Lord.

"In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1: 26.... 38).

Monday 20th December 2021, 4th Week of Advent.

In our key Scripture for today, we find an apt response to every good promise of God to us in Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a record of God's dealings and interactions with human beings across centuries and geographies. They contain also the word of God or divine command to the men and women who live in Bibleland and their responses to God.

This Monday, we read of how God sent the Angel Gabriel to a young woman with an astonishing promise. Gabriel told Mary that through the power of God, she will become the Mother of God. Once Mary fully understands the implications of the message, she replies:  "I am the handmaid of the Lord: let what you have said be done to me. (Luke 1: 38).

"To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role." The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace." (CCC 490).

The Child we are expecting in five days will "be ruler in Israel."
He is the King of the Universe and His origin is "from ancient times."  (Micah 1: 1).
He is the Lord who is always with us. The Emmanuel. He is the Lord who is Peace.

Has God put any dreams in your heart? Do not be afraid.

"I am your Mother, the Mother given you by my Son Jesus, from the Cross, in the solemn hour of His sacrifice. And you are my son, dear to my Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, precious to me, and ever under the mantle of my protection. Let me live with you as I lived with John, the second son of my Heart and the model for all my priest sons down through the ages. Speak to me simply and with complete trust in the compassion of my maternal Heart and in the power given to my maternal intercession." (IN SINU JESU, Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Annunciation).

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