Tuesday, December 29, 2020

⛪. this child is destined ⛪


The Crib and the Cross

One cold January night when the world seemed to lie in darkness, I sat down from a long day and turned to C-Span2, BookTV. One of the books that piqued my interest was James H. Cone's, The Cross and the Lynching Tree. I'd not heard of it before, and as the book was being discussed, something awakened in me, and I saw how vacuous was the Christmas I had participated in a few weeks before. Even though I was centered on the Christ Child and the Franciscan emphasis on the Incarnation, it was a sentimental Baby Jesus who filled my prayer and my imagination—not the baby who grew and matured and gave us the Sermon on the Mount which he then lived out and because of which he was put to death on the hanging tree of the cross.

I was looking at the Baby Jesus of countless crèches and not at the babies who were slain by King Herod because of the Baby Jesus. The implications of the connections between Jesus in the crib and Jesus on the cross like someone hanged from a tree, are overshadowed and seem, at times, almost eradicated by the world that our greed, self-interest, and neglect of the poor and the disenfranchised has created. St. Francis saw the connection between the crib and the cross.

—from the book Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis
by Murray Bodo, OFM


†Saint Quote
"The human soul has so much likeness to God its creator that I surely know of no other way by which one can more easily mount to a knowledge of God than from reflection on one's own soul."
— St. Robert Bellarmine

"Let us pass on now to the other question—namely, what you can do to strengthen your resolutions and make them succeed? There is no better mean than to put them into practice. But you say that you are still so weak that, although you often make strong resolutions not to fall into the particular imperfection of which you want to cure yourself, no sooner does the occasion present itself than down you go. Shall I tell you why we are still so weak? It is because we will not abstain from food that does not agree with us. It is as if a person who wished to be free from pains in the stomach were to ask a physician what he should do. The doctor replies, 'Do not eat such and such food, because it brings you pain'; and yet the person will not abstain from it. We do the same. For example, we should like to love reproof, and yet we obstinately cling to our own opinions. That is foolishness. You will never be strong enough to bear reproof courageously while you are nourishing yourself with the food of self-esteem. I wish to keep my soul recollected, and yet I will not restrain all sorts of idle thoughts: the two things are incompatible. Ah! How much I wish that I could be steadfast and regular in my religious exercises; at the same time I wish not to find them so trying—in fact, I want to find the work done for me. That cannot be in this life, for we shall always have to labor."
— St. Francis de Sales, p. 97
The Art of Loving God

"So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, it is a sin."
James 4:17


click to read more



St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170), also known as St. Thomas of Canterbury, was the son of a prosperous London merchant. Being a well-educated youth, he was appointed as clerk to the Archbishop of Canterbury, and was later made Archdeacon. In this role he met and became close friends with King Henry II of England. The King promoted Becket to the office of Lord Chancellor, and, when the Archbishop of Canterbury died, made Becket the new Archbishop in 1162, the most powerful ecclesiastical position in all of England. King Henry II supposed that having his close friend in such a position would enable him to enforce his will on the Church. However, in his new role as priest and archbishop, Thomas Becket experienced a religious conversion and transferred his ultimate allegiance to the Church. This led to frequent conflicts over the rights of the Church between the King of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury, resulting in Becket's exile. When Becket returned to England, he was murdered by four knights, the king's lackeys, as he was offering Mass at the Canterbury Cathedral altar on December 29, 1170. St. Thomas Becket's feast day is December 29th.


The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

Lectionary: 202
Reading 1

1 JN 2:3-11

The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments.
Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever keeps his word,
the love of God is truly perfected in him.
This is the way we may know that we are in union with him:
whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked.

Beloved, I am writing no new commandment to you
but an old commandment that you had from the beginning.
The old commandment is the word that you have heard.
And yet I do write a new commandment to you,
which holds true in him and among you,
for the darkness is passing away,
and the true light is already shining.
Whoever says he is in the light,
yet hates his brother, is still in the darkness.
Whoever loves his brother remains in the light,
and there is nothing in him to cause a fall.
Whoever hates his brother is in darkness;
he walks in darkness
and does not know where he is going
because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 96:1-2A, 2B-3, 5B-6

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Announce his salvation, day after day.
Tell his glory among the nations;
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty go before him;
praise and grandeur are in his sanctuary.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!


LK 2:32

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A light of revelation to the Gentiles
and glory for your people Israel.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.


LK 2:22-35

When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
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,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
and to offer the sacrifice of
a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,
in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout,
awaiting the consolation of Israel,
and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Christ of the Lord.
He came in the Spirit into the temple;
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus
to perform the custom of the law in regard to him,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:

"Lord, now let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you prepared in the sight of every people,
a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel."

The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,
"Behold, this child is destined
for the fall and rise of many in Israel,
and to be a sign that will be contradicted
(and you yourself a sword will pierce)
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."


Daily Meditation: Luke 2:22-35

. . . awaiting the consolation of Israel. (Luke 2:25)

"There goes young Simeon up to the Temple mount again," a bystander comments. "Every day he prays for the Messiah and the rescue of Israel." Another replies, "He has youthful zeal. But we'll see how long that lasts." Years pass, along with Simeon's youth. How many questions must have crossed his mind and crept into his heart? No doubt he prayed Psalm 77: "Has God's promise come to an end?" But Simeon did not give in to doubt. Even more, he didn't stop persisting in prayer in the place where he had heard God's promise that "he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah" (Luke 2:26).

Finally the day arrived, and what did the old man see? Did the Lord's Anointed advance on Jerusalem in splendor at the head of a mighty army? Far from it! Simeon saw a young family, easy to overlook as they picked their way among the crowds. How did he know? Simeon, familiar with God's voice after long years of prayer, heard the Holy Spirit: This is the One.

Simeon's faithfulness and perseverance in prayer can be a model for us. For most of his life, it seemed that his prayers were not answered, yet he returned to the Temple day after day. In fact, God was working in him, strengthening him and teaching him to recognize the voice of the Spirit.

Sometimes we can be waiting for long stretches before we experience a consolation of some kind. It can be difficult to keep waiting and trusting when that happens. That's when we can look to Simeon's example of showing up faithfully, day in, day out, whether we see God answering our prayers or not. Like Simeon, we can trust that God is at work in quiet ways, in the small but powerful workings of grace. Over time, we will become more open to the Holy Spirit, better able to receive his gifts and act upon his promptings.

Even when things seem impossible, when God seems absent, prayer is a gift from God. There, he opens us up to hear the Holy Spirit and teaches us to recognize his work in the world around us, just as Simeon recognized the Christ in a baby.

"Holy Spirit, help me to persist in prayer and learn to hear your voice."

1 John 2:3-11
Psalm 96:1-3, 5-6



Our life is a gift and a giving to others; therefore it is joy at a profound level. Anyone who seriously makes this idea his own and begins to practice it will find it to be true; he will discover that the will to live it out, that is, to accept everything as a gift from God, can transform our life right down to its roots.
— Hans Urs von Balthasar
from You Crown the Year with Your Goodness


"The way we may be sure that we know Jesus
is to keep his commandments."
And our Lord said the greatest commandments, Love God first and above all, then love others as yourself. This changes everything...the world itself.


"Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice! Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands. Sing to the LORD; bless his name. "
Sing because He's been revealing Himself to the least expected.

Sing because He is being graceful and merciful.
Sing because He is Lord. Sing a new song!
I'm a singer, somehow got put into it, never looked for it, things just happened. And almost every week for Mass I have to learn a new song, if not several. Boy is this a challenge, especially for the first few years. But like everything else, things get better. I'm encouraging you. Just because things are tough now, doesn't mean they won't get better...I'm asking you to remain by singing a new song. Stick with it. There is a double benefit to this. I'll let you realize the fact of your life.


In the Holy Gospel we heard: "When the days were completed for their purification
according to the law of Moses,
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...".
The presentation of our Lord should be a great feast, right? Isn't it a big deal? What would we celebrate?

Like all of Christ's life, we'd celebrate obedience. An offering to God in the temple.
An introduction to the devout life.
It'd be the re-living of Christ's life through Mary and Joseph, much like the rosary.
What can we present to the Lord today, in the temple? Christ?

I read a story this morning about ANOTHER Eucharistic miracle, where the Eucharist turns into the heart flesh. It happens when it falls to the ground and then put into water. Think about it, we are made of dirt, it falls into our body when we receive, and then our water activates His truth heart flesh, and we ingest and become one with His precious and Sacred Heart.

What can we offer to God in the temple?
You carry it within. You HAVE TO OFFER IT to our Lord, it is HIS.
His Heart with yours in this intimacy is HIS. Love belongs to LOVE.
I'm asking you to become solid love, one with Him our Father and creator. And when God asks, it is a command.

When I ask someone to do something for me, it is a command.
Last night a family wanted a rosary for their loved one's death. They asked over a handful of "faithful" including myself that all said they couldn't . It irked me. I wanted to do it but the one asking me sounded like they just didn't want to, so I didn't take the offer, letting them have the gift of offering a rosary, allbeit forcibly.

It didn't work. After Mass I went to the funeral home with my wife and kids so I could offer the rosary if no one else went. But there was someone leading it, someone had said yes.
What can you offer to God in the temple...?

Lord, I want to offer you the most precious thing in my life...and as much as I think I can...I need help offering it. Let your light bear the grace of loving obedience on us all...


Random online bible verse:
Colossians 1:17–18
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.


If one day you don't receive these, just visit
God Bless You! Peace

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