William Holman Hunt - The finding of the Saviour in the temple
1Samuel 1:20-22, 24-28
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
What should it feel like to live a good family life?
The gospel provides us with an answer that is probably quite surprising. For it’s likely that we may think of life in a good family as being one that’s free from tension. As being more or less plain sailing all the way. And yet, tension is precisely what we find in the gospel. Here both Jesus and his earthly parents struggle to negotiate the tension between the obligations of the immediate family and those of the family of God. As the son of Mary and Joseph, Jesus really should have informed them of his intention to remain in the Temple.
"URBI ET ORBI" MESSAGE
OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
Saturday, 25 December 2021
The Word of God, who created the world and who gives meaning to history and to humanity’s journey, became flesh and came to dwell among us. He came like a whisper, like the murmur of a gentle breeze, to fill with wonder the heart of every man and woman who is open to this mystery.
When they saw the star
they rejoiced with exceeding joy. Mt 2:10
With joy and hope, together with the Councilors, I send my Christmas greetings to each of you. I am very grateful for the prayers and affection with which you have supported us during the XXI General Chapter of our Congregation that took place recently in Rome. The resonance of it you will read in the final message that we have sent to each Sister through the Provincial, Regional and Delegature Superiors.
Isaiah 9:1-6|Titus 2:11-14|Luke 2:1-14
The angels have appeared to the shepherds proclaiming news of great joy. The time of preparation is over; to us a child has been born. But can you prepare for the birth of a child? It would be foolish not to prepare, and yet equally foolish to think that any preparation is adequate for such a gift.
George Herbert in his poem ‘Christmas’ asks the child Jesus to ‘furnish and deck’ his soul. And so it is with the birth of a child. If we are to love a child we must allow ourselves to be drawn into the child’s world as the child grows into our world. Nothing prepares us for this.
The brightness of the Eastern star is almost ready to announce the birth and shines through the darkness of our lives, shaking us out of our winter comfort blankets and dark torpor.
Wake up it says !
As we get to the fourth and final week of Advent we are moving closer to a point where if we stop and pause and listen we may be able to hear.....
the heartbeat of God,
the quickening pulse pressure
the wave of love that is ready to surge and breach through into the world.
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24
Psalms 25:4-5ab, 8-9, 10+14
The Fire and the Light
Malachi means “my messenger.” Writing under cover of the generic, Malachi delivers the blunt message that renders prophets as suspect in their communities: now is the time to face our deeds and repent, to make right our relationship to God and return to our senses. The one who comes next will bring fire. The fire will consume our excuses and reduce mediocrity to ash. Be ready for the fire next time.
1 Samuel 1:24-28
1 Samuel 2:1, 4-5, 6-7, 8abcd
As we approach closer to Christmas, the readings for today are, indeed, joyous ones. The responsorial psalm is replete with expressions of joy and celebration. The first reading and the gospel present some other themes as well, namely, motherhood, faith, and trust.
Both Hannah and Mary demonstrate incredible motherly love and heartfelt trust and faith. I think of Hannah traveling with little Samuel, newly weaned still in her arms. She remembers her prayers for him and her commitment to God that if she were granted a son that she would give him to the Lord. Incredibly, she does not flinch from that promise she made. It is unfathomable for me to comprehend her willingness to give him up. While I may understand the promise made in desperation for a child, the fulfilling of that promise is beyond my comprehension at least at the heart level. The incredible strength and faith in God that Hannah had is admirable. Would that I could be so unwavering. She did continue to visit Samuel once a year yet that could be heartbreaking each time to leave him again. She was able to see beyond her own needs to fulfilling God’s will and the good that it would bring to so many. Perhaps she displays true motherly love in seeing beyond her needs and wants to the future of her child. Samuel was an amazing judge leading his people with wisdom and love. Certainly, as our children grow we “let them go” more and more – to school, to college, to new loves and families but usually still connected by a longer and less restraining tie.