Today's Inspirational Snippet: If we embrace the truth about who Jesus is, we live in that truth and Jesus is born into the world through our behavior.
Inspirational Snippet: Baptism is not a moment in time that guarantees eternal life for us. To continue to reap the benefits of its saving grace, we have to consecrate our lives to God every time the world entices us with something that would draw us away from the Father.
To the degree that we accept that through Christ we ourselves have been reconciled
with God we can be messengers of reconciliation for others. Essential to the work
of reconciliation is a nonjudgmental presence. We are not sent to the world to
judge, to condemn, to evaluate, to classify, or to label. When we walk around as
if we have to make up our mind about people and tell them what is wrong with them
and how they should change, we will only create more division. Jesus says it clearly:
"Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge; ... do not
condemn; ... forgive" (Luke 6:36-37).
In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental
presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of
a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized by those who long for reconciliation
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
1 Cor. 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
1 John 5:4
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
1st Reading: Sir 3:2–6, 12–14
For the Lord established that children should respect their father; he confirmed the right of the mother over her children.
Whoever honors his father atones for his sins; he who gives glory to his mother prepares a treasure for himself.
Whoever honors his father will receive joy from his own children and will be heard when he prays.
Whoever glorifies his father will have a long life. Whoever obeys the Lord gives comfort to his mother.
My child, take care of your father in his old age, do not cause him sorrow as long as he lives.
Even if he has lost his mind, have patience; do not be disrespectful to him while you are in full health.
For kindness done to one’s father will never be forgotten, it will serve as reparation for your sins.
2nd Reading: Col 3:12–21 (or 3:12–17)
Clothe yourselves, then, as is fitting for God’s chosen people, holy and beloved of him. Put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience to bear with one another and forgive whenever there is any occasion to do so. As the Lord has forgiven you, forgive one another. Above all, clothe yourselves with love which binds everything together in perfect harmony. May the peace of Christ overflow in your hearts; for this end you were called to be one body. And be thankful.
Let the word of God dwell in you in all its richness. Teach and admonish one another with words of wisdom. With thankful hearts sing to God psalms, hymns and spontaneous praise. And whatever you do or say, do it in the Name of Jesus, the Lord, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as you should do in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not get angry with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, because that pleases the Lord. Parents, do not be too demanding of your children, lest they become discouraged.
Gospel: Mt 2:13–15, 19–23
After the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you for Herod will soon be looking for the child in order to kill him.”
Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. In this way, what the Lord had said through the prophet was fulfilled: I called my son out of Egypt.
After Herod’s death, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go back to the land of Israel, because those who tried to kill the child are dead.” So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.
But when Joseph heard that Archilaus had succeeded his father Herod as king of Judea, he was afraid to go there. He was given further instructions in a dream, and went to the region of Galilee.
There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way what was said by the prophets was fulfilled: He shall be called a Nazorean.
The Book of Sirach instructs us in the Fourth Commandment—honoring our father and mother, and the many blessings it brings. Paul speaks of what makes for a peaceful and holy family—love, deep respect, mutual submission, obedience, compassion, forgiveness, and the centrality of God. Matthew narrates the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. Being holy and blessed did not keep the Holy Family from experiencing danger and fear (flight to Egypt), misunderstanding (Joseph’s confusion over Mary’s pregnancy), worry and heartache (losing Jesus in the Temple), violence, suffering, and death (the passion and death of Christ piercing Mary’s heart). What made the family of Mary and Joseph holy? Even in the midst of life’s struggles, they remained faithful to God and to each other. Do I expect God to remove all the struggles of ordinary life just because I have consecrated myself to God? I know at least one parish that does not read the final verses in today’s second reading (starting from “wives, submit…”). Why do they discard it? What does it tell us about today’s family dynamics?
Pray for broken families in our midst. Pray that our families may become holy and blessed. Pray for the values of love, deep respect, mutual submission, obedience, compassion, forgiveness, and centeredness on God to reign supreme in our families. Listen to what Mary, Joseph, and the Child Jesus want to tell you about your family.
Visit your family and dine with your parents and siblings/children. If distance prevents you, call your parents, siblings, (and children) and engage in loving and respectful conversation. Bless each other in your family
Inspirational Snippet: Follow Jesus all the way to the cross, which is the only path to resurrection and the glory of God
i need prayers for myself and family. Thanks !
Inspirational Snippet: We might run out of patience; we might get tired of giving more love than we receive from others, but God who is love is always with us
John of Kanty is a typical saint: He was kind, humble and generous, he suffered opposition and led an austere, penitential life. Most Christians in an affluent society can understand all the ingredients except the last: Anything more than mild self-discipline seems reserved for athletes and ballet dancers. Christmas is a good time at least to reject self-indulgence.
In the drama of the incarnation, Jesus is, of course, the star. That’s the way it is at every birth. All eyes are on the baby. The co-star, though, is definitely mom. Without her love and labor, the event could not have happened. In this case, without mom’s faith it couldn’t have happened either. According to Luke’s Gospel, an angel brought her stunning news. She believed the unbelievable and said “let it be.”
But there is a best supporting actor in the drama as well. True, Joseph was not the biological father. But the messiah had to be of David’s royal line. In ancient Israel, a child’s clan was determined by that of his father. So it was Joseph who legally bound Jesus to the house of David. It was because of Joseph that the family had to go to Bethlehem for the census, that the prophecy might be fulfilled.
God carefully selected the woman who would be the mother of his Son. But he must have been equally careful in his selection of the foster-father. For genes are not the only thing parents impart to their children. Jesus, in his humanity, had to grow in wisdom, age, and grace (Luke 2:52). Joseph must have responsible for a good deal of this growth. It was Joseph who was Jesus’ male role model. From Joseph Jesus learned many things, including the trade that he would practice for some twenty years.
But there are even more important things that Jesus learned from Joseph. For Joseph was a just man, an honest man, a courageous man, a man of integrity. His betrothed was pregnant but not by him. Imagine the shame, the hurt, and the anger that he must have experienced assuming what anyone would assume in such a situation. His integrity would not allow him to marry an adulteress and pretend the child was his. Neither would he expose the woman he loved to shame and punishment. He did not procrastinate or waffle. He made the difficult decision to divorce Mary quietly.
But then came the messenger. In Luke’s Gospel, there was an angelic Annunciation to Mary. In the first chapter of Matthew, we learn that Joseph gets one too. He was named after the greatest dreamer of the Old Testament. Maybe that’s why his annunciation came in a dream.
Mary’s great claim to fame is her faith. When told the unbelievable, she believed.
Joseph’s claim to fame is also his faith. He too was also told the unbelievable and dared to believe. His response of faith entailed taking action–he change his plans, received Mary into his home, and accepted responsibility for this special child. Keep this in mind, though. Mary needed no revelation to be sure this was a virginal conception. All Joseph had to go by was what he received from an angel, in a dream.
Do you think he may have been tempted at some point to second guess this experience? Especially when things did not go smoothly. After all, when a plan is from God, are not doors supposed to open? Yet when they arrived in Bethlehem, the door of the inn was slammed shut in their face. If this were God’s child, wouldn’t God provide a room? And if this were really God’s son, wouldn’t God have turned back Herod’s hit men?
Then the angel shows up again in another dream: “flee to Egypt with Mary and the baby.”
Wasn’t the 70 mile walk to Bethlehem with a pregnant woman enough? If this was God’s doing, shouldn’t there be an easier way?
Joseph may or may not have thought these things. I would have. The point is, Joseph believed and acted. And when the angel came a third time and told him to make the long trek back to Nazareth, he acted again.
Joseph certainly did a lot of walking. From Nazareth to Bethlehem to Egypt and back again. Paul said we walk by faith, not by sight. Joseph is a model of faith because he keeps walking, even in the dark.
Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) writes from Texas.
Inspirational Snippet: We can honor and revere our parents by respecting their personhood even while refusing to cooperate with their sins.
That is quite a mouthful but so true
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