Monthly Archives: December 2017

Feast of the Holy Family – Year B – December 31, 2017

The Elderly: Builders of a Young World

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/WT3HSBkr0eo

 

Introduction

 

The sons of Eli, the priest of the Lord at Shiloh, were depraved and did not pay any attention to the calls of the father (1 Sam 2:12). One day a man of God appeared to Eli who told him: “In your household no one will live to a ripe old age” (1 Sam 2:32). It was not the promise that his descendants would be freed from the hassles related to the care of elderly and sick people, but the announcement of a terrible calamity. Educators of new generations, the guardians of the sacred traditions, the leaders of the transmission of the faith would be forever missed. His grandchildren would never have experienced the commotion of the psalmist who exclaimed, “With our ears, O God, we have heard: our ancestors have declared to us the works you did in their days” (Ps 44:1-2).

 

In Israel there was the commandment “Honor your father and mother,” however, the formation of new generations was often marked by tension and conflict. There were spoiled, arrogant and judicious young people (1 Kgs 12:8). There were wise old men who watched, with serenity and trust, beyond the narrow horizons of their time. There were also dull old people who fought for a nostalgic return to the past, trying in every way to curb the impulses toward the future.

 

The prophets indicate that generational reconciliation is the sign of the advent of the Messianic era. The Old Testament closes with the announcement of the return of Elijah who will reconcile parents with their children and children with their parents (Mal 3:24). The New Testament opens with the words of the angel to Zechariah: “Elizabeth will bear you a son; he will be great in the eyes of the Lord; he will reconcile fathers and children” (Lk 1:13-17).

 

In families where there is no elderly person, life can, at times, be easier, but it is certainly the poorest of humanity.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Even when my strength lessens, my heart will remain young.

 

Continue reading

Advertisements
Categories: Cycle B | Leave a comment

Mary, Mother of God – Year B – January 1, 2018

Bless—don’t curse. It is the way of peace.

 

There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
https://youtu.be/CsRTnzztPRE

 

Introduction

 

Christians have always connected the traditional New Year’s feast to a motive of their faith. Before the liturgical reform of Vatican council II Jesus’ circumcision was celebrated. It took place, according to Luke, eight days after his birth (Lk 2:21). Then this day was dedicated to Mary, Mother of God. From 1968, January 1 became the “world day of peace” promulgated by Pope Paul VI. The readings reflect a variety of themes: the blessing to begin well the new year (first reading); Mary, model of every mother and disciple (gospel); peace (first reading and the gospel); the divine sonship (second reading); amazement before God’s love (gospel); the name with which God wishes to be identified and invoked (first reading and the gospel).

 

To bless and blessing are terms that occur often in the Bible. They could be found in almost every page (552 times in the Old Testament, 65 times in the New Testament). From the beginning God blesses his creatures: the living beings that they be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:22), the man and the woman that they rule over all creation (Gen 1:28) and the Sabbath, sign of rest and of joy without end (Gen 2:3).

 

We need to feel blessed by God and by the brethren. Cursing distances, separates, indicates the refusal, while blessing instead approaches, strengthens the solidarity, and infuses trust and hope. “May the Lord bless you and protect you”: these are the first words that the liturgy utters on this day. May they be impressed in our hearts and that we repeat them to friends and enemies throughout the year.

 

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
Teach us, O Lord, to bless who insults us, to bear with who persecutes us, to confront those who slander us.”

 

Continue reading

Categories: Cycle B | Leave a comment

St. Stephen, the first martyr – December 26

The same fate for Master and disciple

 

Introduction

 

Entering the church today we perceive a different climate from that of Christmas Day. The white vestments—white as the angel’s who announced to the shepherds a great joy: “Today a Savior has been born to you in David’s town” (Lk 2:11)—have been replaced by red ones.

 

The announcement of the birth of the Savior gladdened us and the sweet pastoral melodies lulled us, then the liturgy presents us with the bloodshed of the first martyr. It looks like a tacky combination. Yet, to understand Christmas, we must go beyond the pagan folklore that marked this festival around the world.

 

The Christmas of the liturgy has little to do with the sapling poetry, the lights and the music box and, even less, with the holidays on exotic beaches. It is God’s wager who, after speaking to people through the wonders of creation and the prophets, now really bets everything. In a gesture of supreme love, he offers his Son to the world.

 

From the first centuries, Christmas was linked to Easter. In the newborn child, the community of believers is immediately invited to contemplate the one who will offer himself on the cross and rise again in glory.

 

Andrei Rublev understood it very well. While in Moscow, around 1420, he painted the famous icon of the Nativity. He portrayed the Child of the manger with the proportions of an adult, wrapped in bandages of death and lying in a manger, which is actually a stone tomb. In the background, he depicted a gaping, dark cave: the tomb from which Jesus would one day come to defeat death and radiate upon the world the light of the resurrection.

 

The Church introduced the Feast of St Stephen to make us understand the link between Christmas and Easter. In the passion and death of the first martyr, we can already see the events of Easter. Taking the child in his arms, Simeon announced: “Know this, your son is a sign, a sign established for the falling and rising of many in Israel, a sign of contradiction; so that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed” (Lk 2:34-35). Aware of the conflict that his message would have caused in the world, Jesus said one day: “I have come not to bring peace, but rather division” (Lk 12:51).

 

In front of him, there will always be some who will line up for love and peace and others will opt for hatred and violence. Some who will advocate truth and justice while still others will choose the falsity and abuse. Some will prefer to behave like wolves and others will accept the destiny that unites them to the Lamb. Only these will leave a bright trace in history.

 

To internalize the message, we repeat:
He is born to offer his own life as a gift: It is the message of the Child of Bethlehem.”

 

Continue reading

Categories: Cycle B | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.