Wishing you Happy New Year with new beginnings
To all the Pallottine Sisters, friends and benefactors,
With 2022 knocking on our doors, there is no better way to thank you for your prayers, wishes and kindness shown to us in the past year to live our Pallottine Charism and mission fully with zeal. As we are eager to welcome the new year with new vitality and newness, let us not allow our peace to be disturbed, not even in view of the difficulties and sufferings of this present time. Indeed, sufferings, trials and darkness should not undermine but build up our hope, a hope which does not deceive because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Birth of Jesus who became fully human, just like us.
Numbers 6:22-27; Galatians 4:4-7; Luke 2:16-21
Three Key Words
Three words are touchstones in today's Gospel: amazed, treasured, returned. Why would God choose shepherds as heralds of his Son's birth? They were generally regarded as smelly and untrustworthy. Yet, perhaps because they were so unsophisticated and earthy, they could look beyond a scene which others might see as squalid (birth in a stable? a newborn in a feeding trough?). They had the grace to be amazed. Somehow, they saw the divine in the human, teaching us who follow to look for grace in unexpected circumstances.
Mary didn't seem surprised by what happened in Bethlehem; the angel's promise had prepared her for an unusual son. But she treasured and reflected on what was happening. She models how we too should respond to the varied happenings of our days. Activity can easily become a blur unless we, like Mary, take time for quiet meditation. What is God showing me through these events, people, or places?
When the shepherds returned, it could have been as anti-climactic as the end of the holiday. After what was probably the greatest event of their lives, they went back to the routine of tending sheep. Instead of being disappointed, they praised and glorified God. They were different people. They carried within their hearts the rich truth: God dwells among us as one of us.
Painted by Rein Nomm
Oslo Gospel Choir - Come let us sing
1 John 2:18-21; John 1:1-18
1. He Came to His Own: Our God came looking for us. “It is not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us” (Cf. 1 John 4:10). What is it that so attracts God to us? The Bible uses images of the love of a spouse or a parent to help us understand how deeply God desires to make us his own. He knows that this is where our true happiness lies. Often, he looks for man in mysterious ways, but in Jesus Christ he plainly shows himself and his desire to be with us. Do I appreciate the gift of the Incarnation? Do I understand a bit better each day how humbly and powerfully God looks for my love?
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; Matthew 2:13-18
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’
“Herod!” says the Office of Readings, “you slay those little ones because fear in your heart slays you.” It was a penetrating psychological insight from an early Christian writer. Aggression is a manifestation of fear. But how is it that it looks just the opposite of fear? Why, because it is the repression of fear. If a person has not faced his own fear he will project it onto others and fight it there. If he hasn’t fought the war within he will fight it without. And of course (because it is all about fear) he will pick the easiest target. Even school children discover it: deep down, bullies are cowards.
1 John 1:1-4
Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
John 20:1a, 2-8
In the celebration of today's feast of St. John the Evangelist we read John's own account of the visit that he and St. Peter made to the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning. These words of St. John are appropriate for his feast day because they tell us a lot about him. St. John is presented as a very perceptive person who had listened carefully to the words and teaching of Jesus and had become a faithful follower of the Lord. This whole section of his gospel reveals St. John in a very favorable light. I find him an attractive person whom I would like to imitate in his faithfulness and devotion to Jesus.