Saturday, December 26, 2009

Preparing for the Mass - December 27, 2009

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph (Cycle C)
Preparations for December 27, 2009

  Reading I: Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14 or 1 Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
The reading from Sirach is a beautiful reminder of how we are to honor our parents.
The reading from 1st Samuel recounts part of Hannah's story (Samuel's mother). Our Holy Mother's canticle has many similarities to Hannah's canticle (song of praise). I love reading the two side by side. I have included both at the end of this post.
Canticle of Hannah - 1st Samuel 2:1-10
Canticle of Mary - Luke 1: 46-55  (More about the Magnificat)

Resp Psalm: 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 or 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10

Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house, O Lord.

Reading II: Colossians 3:12-21 or 3:12-17 or 1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
 This reading from Colossians is so very beautiful in its beginning . . . 
" Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another . . . "

The longer reading from  Colossians (Colossians 3: 18-21) ends with a clear reminder of how we should treat each other in our families; which should be a reflection of our family covenant with God.

The reading from John reminds us of a glorious gift from our Father. "We are God’s children now"
We take this for granted in our day and age. But think of the impact, in Jesus' time, of the very concept, not to mention the reality!
God adopting us . . . making us part of His family.

Gospel: Luke 2:41-52
This Gospel reading recounts the time when Jesus was 12 and was left behind in Jerusalem after the Feast of the Passover. There are 4 POINTS I'D LIKE TO MAKE:
  1. As a child this story bothered me a lot. I was appalled that Mary and Joseph could LOSE their only child while traveling!! Thank goodness I have learned a few things since then. :-)  Perhaps because of this I try very hard to give historical detail when I share Bible stories with my kids. Understanding cultural and historical context and the intended audience really helps us to understand the Bible. For example . . . . During this time in history people often traveled in big groups or caravans.  It makes sense that everyone looked out for one another. I can imagine it was somewhat like semi-organized chaos. 
  2. As a parent I can imagine the terror in Mary and Joseph's hearts as they looked for Jesus . . . for at least 5 days by my count! No cell phones, no cars, no missing person bureau. Jesus waited for them in the most logical place - his Father's house. But hindsight is 20/20. 
  3. Like Mary and Joseph in this gospel story, we often do not understand events as they are unfolding. We must ponder their meaning as we continue on with the ordinary affairs of daily life. In this way making memory (pondering) becomes a means of grace. 
  4. And finally a bit of timeless and thought-provoking commentary by Origen.  
"In order, therefore, that we too may be his hearers and that he may put to us questions which he himself will then answer, let us pray to him earnestly, seeking him with great effort and anguish, and then our search will be rewarded.

Not for nothing was it written: Your father and I have been looking for you anxiously. The search for Jesus must be neither careless nor indifferent, not must it be only a transitory affair. Those who seek in this manner will never find him.

We must truly be able to say: We have been looking for you anxiously; if we can say this then he will reply to our weary and anxious soul in the words: Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?"
Origen (183-253), one of the greatest thinkers of ancient times, became head of the catechetical school of Alexandria at the age of eighteen. In 230 he was ordained priest by the bishop of Caesarea. His life was entirely devoted to the study of scripture and he was also a great master of the spiritual life. His book On First Principles was the first great theological synthesis. Many of his works are extant only in Latin as a result of his posthumous condemnation for heterodox teaching. Nevertheless, in intention he was always a loyal son of the Church.
For the children -Sadler has a nice review of the readings along with suggested activities.

Now for us big kids - Reflections for this Sunday can be found at The Center for Liturgy Sunday.

1st Samuel 2:1-10

My heart has rejoiced in the Lord, and my horn is exalted in my God: my mouth is enlarged over my enemies: because I have joyed in your salvation. 2 There is none holy as the Lord is: for there is no other beside you, and there is none strong like our God. 3 Do not multiply to speak lofty things, boasting: let old matters depart from your mouth: for the Lord is a God of all knowledge, and to him are thoughts prepared. 4 The bow of the mighty is overcome, and the weak are girt with strength. 5 They that were full before, have hired out themselves for bread: and the hungry are filled, so that the barren has borne many: and she that had many children is weakened. 6 The Lord kills and makes alive, he brings down to hell, and brings back again. 7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich, he humbles and he exalts: 8 He raises up the needy from the dust, and lifts up the poor from the dunghill: that he may sit with princes, and hold the throne of glory. For the poles of the earth are the Lord's, and upon them he has set the world. 9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; because no man shall prevail by his own strength. 10 The adversaries of the Lord shall fear him: and upon them shall he thunder in the heavens: The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth, and he shall give empire to his king, and shall exalt the horn of his Christ.


Luke 1: 46-55

46 And Mary said: My soul does magnify the Lord. 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 Because he has regarded the humility of his handmaid: for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 Because he that is mighty has done great things to me: and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is from generation unto generations, to them that fear him. 51 He has showed might in his arm: he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. 52 He has put down the mighty from their seat and has exalted the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he has sent empty away. 54 He has received Israel his servant, being mindful of his mercy. 55 As he spoke to our fathers: to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

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