1 John 2:22-28; Psalm 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4; John 1:19-28
A new year, a new beginning. This time of year is so full of hope and promise.
I always get a boost of energy from new beginnings... a new month, a new semester, a new fiscal year, and the ultimate new beginning is the New Year. With the new I am bombarded with top ten lists and suggestions for the best resolutions. And I readily jump in to the excitement.
O God, who brought the shepherds to Bethlehem with angel song in their hearts, teach us their simplicity. Show us how to follow Mary in her habits of cherishing and reflecting. Help us see the bright presence of your Son Jesus in our lives. As we begin a new year, bring us closer to you and to each other. We ask this through the same Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Dear Sisters and Visitors: Have a Happy New Year 2018!
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE
FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE
51st WORLD DAY OF PEACE
1 JANUARY 2018
Migrants and refugees: men and women in search of peace
1. Heartfelt good wishes for peace
Peace to all people and to all nations on earth! Peace, which the angels proclaimed to the shepherds on Christmas night, is a profound aspiration for everyone, for each individual and all peoples, and especially for those who most keenly suffer its absence. Among these whom I constantly keep in my thoughts and prayers, I would once again mention the over 250 million migrants worldwide, of whom 22.5 million are refugees. Pope Benedict XVI, my beloved predecessor, spoke of them as “men and women, children, young and elderly people, who are searching for somewhere to live in peace.” In order to find that peace, they are willing to risk their lives on a journey that is often long and perilous, to endure hardships and suffering, and to encounter fences and walls built to keep them far from their goal.
The Feast of the Holy Family is connected to Christmas. At Christmas what we’re celebrating is the beginning of God’s final move in the history of salvation. The world is to be redeemed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ isn’t just a human being, though, Christ is also truly divine: Christ is fully and truly human and fully and truly God. Therefore, if it’s Christ’s death and resurrection that will redeem us and Christ is both human and divine, then in order for this to happen God had first to come into the world as a human being and that’s what we celebrate at Christmas.
1 John 2:12-17; Luke 2:36-40
“Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice.” Thus says today’s Psalm. So, too, says our hearts in this Christmas season! For a people who have walked in darkness, have seen a great light. We bask this day in the after glow of Christmas. It is the light we gravitate towards on these dark days of winter.
Anna, like Simeon, was part of that people shrouded in darkness; but her faith in the faithfulness of God, prepared Anna for her encounter with her salvation in the person of the child Jesus. Disciplined by prayer and vigil, on seeing Jesus she immediately began to give thanks to God, who was faithful to his covenant and sent the messiah to those “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
1 John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35
Whoever says he is in the light, yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness. 1 John 2
The parents of Jesus took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord. Luke 2
We are just four days after Christmas and the first reading challenges us. Who among us, in our experience of Christmas, didn't have some difficult experience with someone? It is almost inevitable each year that Christmas time can become a very stressful time. Christmas often gathers us with family and friends. Sometimes the most difficult relationships of our lives come together. Alcohol - intended as a traditional holiday element to add "cheer" - can make everything much worse. A word was said meanly. An old wound was re-opened. Someone was going through a hard time and was coping very badly. I re-discover how much someone really drives me crazy. As a result, I can understand the challenge of the First Letter of John: I want to be in the Light that is Jesus, but at the same time, there is somebody that I really hate or really resent or simply can't stand to be around, and that places me still in the darkness.
1 John 1:5-2:2; Psalm 124:2-3, 4-5, 7cd-8; Matthew 2:13-18
All of us have experienced dissonance between words and actions. Like a musician who plays a wrong note, we cringe whenever our behavior does not match our beliefs. Sometimes we don’t see it right away – we all have blind spots that keep us from recognizing our faults. Our enemies may seek to use our faults to snare us, catching our wrong notes and playing them back over and over in order to challenge whether we are musicians at all! Hopefully our faults are revealed to us by a friend who loves us and seeks to help us play more effectively. I see that approach being revealed in today’s lesson from 1 John.
1 John 1:1-4; John 20:1a, 2-8
As I reflected on today’s feast of St. John, and its placement in the Octave of Christmas, I was struck again by the delicate layers of insight the Spirit gives to the Church in our liturgical life. Even before we ponder the poetic proclamation of witness in the first reading, the placing of the feast on the third day of the eight days of celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation tells us a great deal about our lives as disciples. John is often called the “beloved disciple” because he speaks of a “disciple Jesus loved” as one who lays his head on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper, and stands with Jesus’ mother at the foot of the cross.