Engaging Faith | Fri, Dec 16, 2016
December 25, 2016
Vigil: Isaiah 62:1-5; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25; Matthew 1:1-25 or Matthew 1:18-25
Midnight: Isaiah 9:1-6; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14
Dawn: Isaiah 62:11-12; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:15-20
During the Day: Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
December 25: Christmas
December 26: Feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr
December 26: Start of Kwanzaa
December 30: Feast of the Holy Family
January 1: Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God
January 1: World Day of Prayer for Peace & New Year’s Day
The Joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.
— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 1
God’s heart has a special place for the poor, so much so that he himself “became poor” (2 Cor 8:9). The entire history of our redemption is marked by the presence of the poor.
— Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 197
Why should there be rich people that have more than they need and poor who don’t have anything? God didn’t plan it that way. He planned for us to be equals. That’s why we have to build a society where everyone has the right to live a decent life.... Maybe it sounds like I have my head in the clouds. But I’ve heard about these astronauts in the United States who’ve gone into outer space. And I figure, hell, if these astronauts can get to the moon, then why can’t ordinary folks like us learn to share the earth?
— Elvia Alvarado, Honduran human rights advocate
Real blood was shed at this delivery, by a poor woman of peasant society far from home, laboring in childbirth for the first time. And it was holy.
— Elizabeth Johnson C.S.J., Truly Our Sister, 277
In a society so often intoxicated by consumerism and hedonism, wealth and extravagance, appearances and narcissism, this Child calls us to act soberly, in other words, in a way that is simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential. In a world which all too often is merciless to the sinner and lenient to the sin, we need to cultivate a strong sense of justice, to discern and to do God’s will. Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer.
— Pope Francis, Christmas Homily, 2015
Thoughts for Your Consideration
We celebrate Christmas in the aftermath of many events from the last few months:
- The recent elections in the United States
- The accusations of foreign interference in those elections
- The nomination of many high-level leaders for the United States who appear to be beholden to moneyed interests or allied with hate groups
- The unbelievable violence in Syria, especially in east Aleppo
- The increasing number of refugees throughout the world
- The reality of human activity, which is dramatically changing the climate of our planet
- The conclusion of the Church’s Jubilee Year of Mercy
Our nation and our world can feel overwhelmed. Some people feel lost. Some are excited about the changes. Maybe the Christmas lesson this year is that the ultimate answer is not to be found in political power, military might, or money. Again the answer is to be found in a child born into poverty.
We celebrate the birth of a child to a homeless family in an obscure town 2000 years ago. This child has been called “Emmanuel which means God is with us” (Matthew 1:23), “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), and “the word made flesh (John 1:14). God shares our struggles and our questions. God wants good things for all of us. God walks with us on the journey to peace and mercy.
To read the rest of this reflection from John Bucki, S.J., as well as his reflection questions, faith in action links, prayers of intercession, and prayer meditations, become a member of Education for Justice: http://bit.ly/1Ezao3d.
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