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Archive for November, 2016

Readings for the Week – December 25, 2016

Monday: Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59; Ps 31:3cd-4, 6, 8ab, 16bc, 17; Mt 10:17-22
Tuesday: 1 Jn 1:1-4; Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12; Jn 20:1a, 2-8
Wednesday: 1 Jn 1:5 — 2:2; Ps 124:2-5, 7b-8; Mt 2:13-18
Thursday: 1 Jn 2:3-11; Ps 96:1-3, 5b-6; Lk 2:36-40
Friday: Sir 3:2-6, 12-14 or Col 3:12-21 [12-17]; Ps 128:1-5; Mt 2:13-15, 19-23
Saturday: 1 Jn 2:18-21; Ps 96:1-2, 11-13; Jn 1:1-18
Sunday: Nm 6:22-27; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Gal 4:4-7; Lk 2:16-21

December 25, 2016 – Christmas Day

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

“A kid in a candy store.”  That’s how people of all ages are sometimes described when they are fortunate enough to have a panoply of good options before them.  When I was a boy, living in the city, a real candy store was just down the block and around the corner, quite walkable for young legs. No need to be driven to one from a suburban cul de sac.  I can still picture all the goodies on display behind the beveled glass doors of the counter, where I could use my residual allowance, a net sum post filling a percentage in my the little Church envelope. (Remember those?)

At the risk of being disrespectful, that is analogous to the situation of a writer faced with reflecting on the Mass Readings for Christmas.  Which ones? There are four settings for Masses, each with their own Readings, beginning with the Vigil, followed by the Mass at Midnight, then the Mass at Dawn, and finally the Mass during the Day.

For my Reflections, I chose the Readings for the Mass at Midnight.  Luke’s beautiful gospel, coupled with Isaiah’s prophecy, which centuries later gave Handel some of the lyrics for his “Messiah” oratorio.  To those, St. Paul’s excerpt offers guidelines for living a post-Christmas lifestyle. But it is the Lucan gospel that most appeals to me.

Readings for the Week – December 18, 2016

Monday: Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a; Ps 71:3-4a, 5-6ab, 16-17; Lk 1:5-25
Tuesday: Is 7:10-14; Ps 24:1-4ab, 5-6; Lk 1:26-38
Wednesday: Sg 2:8-14 or Zep 3:14-18a; Ps 33:2-3, 11-12, 20-21; Lk 1:39-45
Thursday: 1 Sm 1:24-28; 1 Sm 2:1, 4-8abcd; Lk 1:46-56
Friday: Mal 3:1-4, 23-34; Ps 25:4-5ab, 8-10, 14; Lk 1:57-66
Saturday: 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Ps 89:2-5, 27, 29; Lk 1:67-79
Sunday: 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]

December 18, 2016 – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

On an unusually warm mid-October day, I was wandering among the Christmas displays, running full tilt  in one of those big box stores. I had come in just to buy a mundane garden weed killer, but the colors and lights drew me to look at merchandise two months early.  The artificial trees blinked; snow-covered miniature scenes twirled and played carols; and boxes of ornaments were already on sale.  Nearby were make-believe electric fireplaces that would render earlier generations dumbstruck.

But amid all this winking and blinking stood a beautifully rendered foot high statue or the Holy Family.  Yes, it was made in China, as my inspection proved. But the resin work was nicely tinted.  I almost bought it, perhaps in a way to “rescue” it from its glitzy surroundings. But my guardian angel whispered “You already have enough pious Christmas decorations.”

Readings for the Week – December 11, 2016

Monday: 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
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 85:9ab, 10-14; Lk 7:18b-23
Thursday: Is 54:1-10; Ps 30:2, 4-6, 11-12a, 13b; Lk 7:24-30
Friday: Is 56:1-3a, 6-8; Ps 67:2-3, 5, 7-8; Jn 5:33-36
Saturday: Gn 49:2, 8-10; Ps 72:1-4ab, 7-8, 17; Mt 1:1-17
Sunday: Is 7:10-14; Ps 24:1-6; Rom 1:1-7; Mt 1:18-24

December 11, 2016 – Third Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Twice in one week, I encountered people wanting my assessment of their work through online surveys.  One came from a busy supermarket checkout person and the other from a staff member at the auto repair service.  Both people tried to impress upon me the importance of my answers, to the point where I started to think their jobs depended on how I rated their work. On that last point, I felt obligated to take the surveys. I guess I’ll never know the effect on them of my ratings.

We humans are naturally curious about how we’re doing in the ratings game of our lives, particularly in the matter of our relationships, both with people and with God.  We yearn to learn how we come across in that all-important court of public opinion.  Naturally, such a “court” would have its judge and jury.  Whole books have been devoted to the study of what we do to sway their opinions.  Sometimes our own instincts tell us that we have either been working too hard on our score, or not hard enough.  If we ever doubted that surveys matter in the business world, all we have to do is ask a company like Samsung about their exploding cell phones.

Readings for the Week – December 4, 2016

Monday: Is 35:1-10; Ps 85:9ab, 10-14; Lk 5:17-26
Tuesday: Is 40:1-11; Ps 96:1-3, 10ac, 11-13; Mt 18:12-14
Wednesday: Is 40:25-31; Ps 103:1-4, 8, 10; Mt 11:28-30
Thursday: Gn 3:9-15, 20; Ps 98:1-4; Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; Lk 1:26-38
Friday: Is 48:17-19; Ps 1:1-4, 6; Mt 11:16-19
Saturday: Sir 48:1-4, 9-11; Ps 80:2ac, 3b, 15-16, 18-19; Mt 17:9a, 10-13
Sunday: Is 35:1-6a, 10; Ps 146:6-10; Jas 5:7-10; Mt 11:2-11

December 4, 2016 – Second Sunday of Advent

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Two of the obvious distinctions between the younger and older generations of our times are clothes and hairdos.  The elders don’t understand and don’t approve.  The younger people don’t want them to do so anyway.  Thus it probably has always been.  Only hair stylists and clothing retailers have to pay attention in order to stay current.

Bishop Fulton Sheen once keenly observed that the young will go to extremes if they have to in order to differentiate themselves from the generation ahead of them.  And if the elders, perhaps jealous of youth’s vitality and freedom from responsibility, start to imitate them in a silly effort to fit in, the young will still win the contest by going farther out.