Readings 20141221

The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com

A “MARY,” MERRY CHRISTMAS

“Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be…?’ ” —Luke 1:34
To have a true Christmas, to meet Christ at Mass in a new, glorious way during the Christmas season, we must have a “Mary” Christmas and love Jesus as Mary does. To have a “Mary” Christmas, we should:

not fear (Lk 1:30),
be filled with God’s grace (Lk 1:30),
have “the Holy Spirit…come upon” us (Lk 1:35),
believe that “nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37),
rejoice in being the Lord’s servants, that is, the slaves of the Lord (Lk 1:38),
“let it be done” to us according to God’s Word (Lk 1:38),
trust “that the Lord’s words” to us will “be fulfilled” (Lk 1:45),
proclaim “the greatness of the Lord” and find “joy in God” our Savior (Lk 1:46-47),
“be pierced with a sword” of sorrow (Lk 2:35),
“do whatever [Jesus] tells” us and tell others to do the same (Jn 2:5),
be at the foot of Jesus’ cross (Jn 19:25), and
together devote ourselves to constant prayer for a new Pentecost (Acts 1:14).
A “Mary” Christmas is a Christmas of faith, joy, self-sacrifice, obedience, evangelistic zeal, redemptive suffering, praise-filled worship, and constant prayer in the Holy Spirit.

“Mary” Christmas!

Prayer: Prayer: Jesus, may You get what You want for Christmas. Promise: “The favors of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim Your faithfulness.” —Ps 89:2 Praise: “O Radiant Dawn, Splendor of eternal light, Sun of Justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.”
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2014 through January 31, 2015.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 30, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements

The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you know the steadfast love of the Lord? God’s love endures forever because he is a covenant-making God who keeps his promises (Psalm 89:2-4). God showed special favor to David when he anointed him to be king of Israel. After David had established peace in the land and wanted to build a house for God, God reassured him that he would build David a house, not made of stone but of flesh, that would last forever (2 Samuel 7:12,16). This royal house would be no ordinary dynasty because God himself promised to raise up an heir to David’s house, another “man after God’s own heart” – a Savior and King who would bring healing, pardon, and lasting peace for his people.
A new era of grace and salvation begins with the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus
We begin to see the fulfillment of this prophecy and the unfolding of God’s plan of redemption in the events leading up to the Incarnation, the birth of the Messiah King. The new era of salvation begins with the miraculous conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary. This child to be born is conceived by the gracious action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, who finds favor with God (Luke 1:28). As Eve was the mother of all humanity doomed to sin, now Mary becomes the mother of the new Adam who will father a new humanity by his grace (Romans 5:12-21).

This child to be conceived in her womb is the fulfillment of all God’s promises. He will be “great” and “Son of the Most Hig” and “King” and his name shall be called “Jesus” (Luke 1:31-32), which means “the Lord saves.” “He will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The angel repeats to Mary, the daughter of the house of David, the promise made to King David: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Isaiah 9:6-7, Luke 1:32-33).

Mary believed God’s word and gave her unqualified “yes” to God’s will
How does Mary respond to the word of God delivered by the angel Gabriel? She knows she is hearing something beyond human capability. It will surely take a miracle which surpasses all that God has done previously. Her question, “how shall this be, since I have no husband” is not prompted by doubt or skepticism, but by wonderment! She is a true hearer of the Word and she immediately responds with faith and trust. Mary’s prompt response of “yes” to the divine message is a model of faith for all believers. Mary believed God’s promises even when they seemed impossible. She was full of grace because she trusted that what God said was true and would be fulfilled. She was willing and eager to do God’s will, even if it seemed difficult or costly. Mary is the “mother of God” because God becomes incarnate when he takes on flesh in her womb. Jesus, whom the Father sent from heaven, is true God and true man.

God gives us the grace to say “yes” to his will and to his transforming work in our lives
When we pray the ancient Nicene Creed (325 AD) we state our confession of faith in this great mystery: “For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” God gives us grace and he expects us to respond with the same willingness, obedience, and heartfelt trust as Mary did. When God commands he also gives the help, strength, and means to respond. We can either yield to his grace or resist and go our own way. Do you believe in God’s promises and do you yield to his grace?

“Heavenly Father, you offer us abundant grace, mercy, and forgiveness through your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Help me to live a grace-filled life as Mary did by believing in your promises and by giving you my unqualified “yes” to your will and plan for my life.”

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