Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:
December 28, A.D. 2008
Scripture from today's Liturgy of the Word:
Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
or Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3
Psalm 128:1-2, 3, 4-5
or Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9
Colossians 3:12-21 or 3:12-17
or Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40
A reflection on today's Scripture:
Every year, the Feast of the Holy Family falls on the Sunday following Christmas.
This year, the readings show us that, just as the power of God Himself was responsible for the birth of Abraham's son, Isaac, and Mary's son, Jesus, so every father and mother must have faith and trust in God's plan for their family.
The first and second readings today focus on Abraham, the trailblazer of our Judeo-Christian roots, to whom God made the promise of heaven—to Abraham "and his descendants." As Abraham approached the age of one hundred, he complained to God that he had no offspring. God brought him out from his tent, and made him look up into the sky and try to count the stars! "More numerous than the stars shall be your children," He said to Abraham. All Abraham had to do was to trust Him. When Isaac was born, Sarah, in amazement, laughed in joy.
When parents are childless, God will find a way. It may be through adoption!
In the Gospel reading, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus, the miracle baby, to the Temple where Simeon and Anna both prophesy to the future career of this child for which God has destined Him. Simeon says that He will bring about "the rise and fall of many." He also proclaims that a "sword shall pierce' Mary's heart” -- just one of the seven sorrows Mary would experience in her lifetime.
What would have happened to "salvation history" if Abraham had replied, "Sorry, it's too late," or if Mary had said "No" to the angel Gabriel? We may never know until Judgment Day what great plans of God were frustrated because married couples failed to trust enough to bring another child into the world. Of course, God knows when there are exceptions.
Today, we need to pray for all families who sacrifice so much in bringing children into the world, in loving and nurturing them in a hundred different ways every day. Especially, do we pray that fathers and mothers will give their children the experience of eating together at a family meal, and of praying together in a way that imitates the peace and leisure that the Holy Family models for them. Granted, it's a very different world in which we live, but only a family that teaches their children how to solve the tensions of living together through patient love and a generous habit of forgiving one another, can ever expect that their children will form their own healthy, faith-filled, happy families later in life. Even members of Jesus' own extended family thought He was crazy! Nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus lash back at them in anger!
For those mothers and fathers whose marriages lie in shambles, may they know that God's power can still help them to mend the broken fragments with forgiveness and new hope. God will show the way for separated spouses to protect their children from destructive anger and hurt.
As Mary and Joseph presented the infant Jesus to His Father, so may all families present themselves for blessing and rededication at our Catholic altars this New Year's Day. May it mark a strengthening of the bonds which will make them also "holy families."
- Msgr. Paul Whitmore |
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph
Lives of the saints:
Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:
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