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Archive for November, 2015

Readings for the Week – December 27, 2015

Monday: 1 Jn 1:5 — 2:2; Ps 124:2-5, 7b-8; Mt 2:13-18
Tuesday: 1 Jn 2:3-11; Ps 96:1-3, 5b-6; Lk 2:22-35
Wednesday: 1 Jn 2:12-17; Ps 96:7-10; Lk 2:36-40
Thursday: 1 Jn 2:18-21; Ps 96:1-2, 11-13; Jn 1:1-18
Friday: Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21
Saturday: 1 Jn 2:22-28; Ps 98:1-4; Jn 1:19-28
Sunday: Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-13; Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6; Mt 2:1-12

December 27, 2015 – Feast of the Holy Family

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

If it has not happened to us, we know it has happened to others. The TV news captures it with pictures and sound in all its pain and sadness. A little boy or girl wanders away from its parents, sometimes right out of the house, only to meet an ill-timed death. We get to see the tear-stained faces on camera and perhaps also hear the choking voices caught by a reporter’s microphone. Soon a makeshift memorial of teddy bears and candles emerges at some significant spot. A true family tragedy.

Fortunately for the rest of us, we can watch from a safe distance, because for now at least, it’s not our turn. A similar family happenstance is described in today’s Gospel, although this one happened long before TV or even electricity, and it turned out not to be tragic. It lets us know that even for the holiest of people bad things happen. A young son lost in amid a crowded caravan through three whole days of searching. And when reunion finally occurs, a mild rebuke given to the parents who unfortunately forgot the boy’s earthly mission, even though an angel had told them twelve years before.

Readings for the Week – December 20, 2015

Monday: Sg 2:8-14 or Zep 3:14-18a; Ps 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21; Lk 1:39-45
Tuesday: 1 Sm 1:24-28; 1 Sm 2:1, 4-8abcd; Lk 1:46-56
Wednesday: Mal 3:1-4, 23-34; Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-10, 14; Lk 1:57-66
Thursday: 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29; Lk 1:67-79
Friday: Vigil: Is 62:1-5; Ps 89:4-5, 16-17, 27, 29; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Mt 1:1-25 (18-25)
Night: Is 9:1-6; Ps 96:1-3, 11-13; Ti 2:11-14; Lk 2:1-14
Dawn: Is 62:11-12; Ps 97:1, 6, 11-12; Ti 3:4-7; Lk 2:15-20
Day: Is 52:7-10; Ps 98:1-6; Heb 1:1-6; Jn 1:1-18 (1-5, 9-14)
Saturday: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59; Ps 31:3cd-4, 6, 8ab, 16bc, 17; Mt 10:17-22
Sunday: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or 1 Sm 1:20-22, 24-28; Ps 128:1-5 or Ps 84:2-3, 5-6, 9-10; Col 3:12-21 (12-17) or 1 Jn 3:1-2, 21-24; Lk 2:41-52

December 20, 2015 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Five days out, and parishioners nearly everywhere will likely pick up the fragrance of the newly-arrived parish Christmas evergreens today: trees, wreaths and garland. White lights may be added, according to the local custom. Poinsettia plants clog the sacristy, a “sea of red” likely ordered under the rubric of “more is better.”

The “C and E” Catholics (you know the translation) are gearing up for their semi-annual visit and their unwanted phone calls to learn the Mass schedule. Meanwhile, the pastor holds out expectation that the annual collection will help defray the bills that never stop coming. All of this is typical five days out from Christmas at “St. Typical” parish nearly everywhere across the fruited plain.

There is nothing inherently wrong with all of these happenings, if you forget about the “C and E’s.” But what lies hidden is the gnawing awareness that this too is part of “our fast-paced society”. Lots of ink has been used, and much discussion given over to analyzing this subject. I do suspect that the very pace most of us follow all year contributes to the high rate of cancer among us. Our consumer culture sets the speedometer just a little too high for enjoyment of life at a more pleasant pace. Look for Valentine hearts to show up at your local drug emporium just after New Year’s.

Readings for the Week – December 13, 2015

Monday: Nm 24:2-7, 15-17a; Ps 25:4-5ab, 6, 7bc-9; Mt 21:23-27
Tuesday: Zep 3:1-2, 9-13; Ps 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-19, 23; Mt 21:28-32
Wednesday: Is 45:6b-8, 18, 21b-25; Ps 85:9-14; Lk 7:18b-23
Thursday: Gn 49:2, 8-10; Ps 72:1-4ab, 7-8, 17; Mt 1:1-17
Friday: Jer 23:5-8; Ps 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19; Mt 1:18-25
Saturday: Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a; Ps 71:3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17; Lk 1:5-25
Sunday: Mi 5:1-4a; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; Heb 10:5-10; Lk 1:39-45

December 13, 2015 – Third Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

It is not that long ago that we can still fondly recall Pope Francis’ visit to our country. We remember the extensive preparation and the dire predictions about security that preceded it. The host cities had to make sure that the thousands of people who came for what was described as “a once in a lifetime event” were safe. It turned out to be a truly joyful time despite the fears, and a special one at that.

Come to think of it, that’s the way it always is when we get the good news that someone important is coming to visit. The question always arises: “How can we best get ready?” The answer always involves a combination of prep work, like cleaning the house to make it look its best, along with making sure we host our visitor well, with good food and hospitality. In that way, the visit is a success for everybody.

Christmas is, was, and always will be “good news” in terms of its message. Most of us find it our favorite time of the year. It’s the anniversary of the coming of Christ: the anniversary of a turnaround in human history from doom and gloom to joy and jubilation. This Sunday the birthday of the Babe of Bethlehem draws near. Let us rejoice!

Readings for the Week – December 6, 2015

Monday: Is 35:1-10; Ps 85:9-14; Lk 5:17-26
Tuesday: Gn 3:9-15, 20; Ps 98:1-4; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk 1:26-38
Wednesday: Is 40:25-31; Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10; Mt 11:28-30
Thursday: Is 41:13-20; Ps 145:1, 9-13ab; Mt 11:11-15
Friday: Is 48:17-19; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Mt 11:16-19
Saturday: Zec 2:14-17 or Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab; Jdt 13:18bcde, 19; Lk 1:26-38 or Lk 1:39-47, or any readings from the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, nos. 707-712
Sunday: Zep 3:14-18a; Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6;Phil 4:4-7; Lk 3:10-18

December 6, 2015 – Second Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

We experience the power of music especially when a song or a symphony tugs at our emotions. I will never forget the first time I heard the powerful “Also sprach Zarathustra” by Richard Strauss when it was used in the film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” That score “spoke” to me in upper case letters: “PAY ATTENTION! This is important!” Try to imagine that same piece playing in the background as you listen to today’s Gospel from Luke.

If you don’t remember the movie, you can at least imagine how the music fits with what St. Luke wrote so long ago. All those details Luke provides about who was what makes for a list of the “VIP’s” of the Baptist’s time when he began his mission as the precursor of Christ.

The Baptist’s announcement was certainly momentous for world history. It was like the first notes of a new “symphony.” It ushered in the final phase of God’s plan to redeem us. The chains of sin holding us hostage were about to fall away. The future turned bright. How unlikely a man was John. Hardly our first choice for a herald! But God is not like us. He chose this oddly dressed prophet, who just happened to be Our Lord’s cousin, preaching to people in the wilderness. He takes an uncompromising stance on what his contemporaries were doing wrong and surprisingly enough, people responded positively.

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