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Week of December 15, 2013
(Luk 1:31-32) Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb and shalt bring forth a son: and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father: and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
CRISIS MAGAZINE: An Advent Paean to Christian Hope by Regis Martin
One of the biggest sadnesses of modern life is this: We’ve mistaken comfort for happiness, and as a result, the pursuit of satisfaction has taken away our joy. We live in a culture increasingly based on the strange idea that whatever we want, we deserve — and we should have it, right now; a culture that constantly teases our appetites, fabricates new “needs” and then urges us to want more. This is a recipe for discontent.
As C.S. Lewis said more than 50 years ago, it’s little wonder that many people, including many Christians, become so fed up with the “holiday” season’s frenzy that they endure it rather than enjoy it, and can’t wait for it to be over.
In contrast, the more deeply we live Advent, and the more prayerfully and patiently we wait for the coming of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, then the more fully we experience the joy of Christmas. For Catholics throughout the centuries, Christmas Eve begins the Christmas season, which continues through the Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord. As the popular saying rightly goes, Jesus is the reason for the season.
Taking Christ out of “the holidays” removes any real joy — the winter solstice is an interesting natural fact, but the shortest day of the year is a pretty thin reason to celebrate — and it makes “peace on earth” a well-meaning but implausible platitude. There is no peace on earth; nor can there ever be without the cross of Jesus Christ.
RON ROLHEISER, OMI: To make a festival of Christmas, to surround Jesus' birthday with all the joy, light, music, gift-giving, energy, and warmth we can muster is, strange as this may sound, a prophetic act. It is, or at least it can be, an expression of faith and hope. It's not the person who says: "It's rotten, let's cancel it!" who radiates hope. That can easily be despair masquerading as faith. No. It is the man or woman who, despite the world's misuse and abuse of these, still strings up the Christmas lights, trims the tree and the turkey, turns up the carols, passes gifts to loved ones, sits down at table with family and friends, and flashes a grin to the world, who is radiating faith, who is saying that we are meant for more than gloom, who is celebrating Jesus' birth.
CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY MINISTRY: Contemplating with Joseph
RON ROLHEISER, OMI: Joseph and Christmas
EXCERPT: The Prince Of Peace: Meditations (1915) by Alban Goodier, S.J.
VIII.-THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
"His name was called Jesus, which was called by the Angel before He was conceived in the womb." LUKE ii. 21.
1. It is not difficult to meditate upon the Holy Name, or to use the Holy Name in prayer. More than any other name, perhaps alone among all proper names, it is appropriate to the One Who owned it. Usually the names of men are given at random; they mean nothing in themselves; a man who happens to be called John might just as well have been called Thomas or William· the mere name tells us nothing about him; it is a convenient means of distinguishing him from others, a label put upon him and little or no more. With a few human beings it has been otherwise: Adam, Abraham, Josue, John the Baptist were given names that signified the men on whom they were bestowed. But with none is this so true as it is with our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. With care it was repeated to Joseph: " "Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for. He shall save His people from their sins."
2. The Name stands as a complete sum mary and description of our Lord's character and office, and it is under this aspect that it has been regarded by thousands of saints, whose hearts have melted at its mere sound. To them Jesus is their God, Jesus is their King, Jesus is their Redeemer, Jesus is their Mediator, Jesus is their Saviour, Jesus is their great Priest, Jesus is their Intercessor, Jesus is the Captain under Whom they fight, Jesus is the Leader Whom they follow, Jesus is their Teacher, Jesus is the Giver of their law, Jesus is the Spouse and Shepherd of their souls, Jesus is their Light Jesus is their Life, Jesus is the Judge before Whom they rejoice to think that they must one day stand, Jesus is their final and eternal Reward, for which alone they live.
3· But He is also to them the mirror of all the most glorious and winning virtues. He is, and His Name tells them that He is unbounded Charity, infinite Mercy, extremest Kindness, deepest Humility, most devoted Piety, transparent Simplicity, uttermost Poverty, Chastity without a stain. It is the prerogative of love to transform those who love into the likeness of Him Whom they love; and as the mere name of one who is loved cannot sound in the ear or be thought of in the mind without adding to the love which is already there, so the thought of the Holy Name and the mention of the Holy Name have a kind of sacramental power in the hearts of His saints. They seem to convey the grace which enables men to think like Him, to speak like Him, to act like Him, to sacrifice themselves like Him, and to Him, and for Him, and along with Him, to make Him known to others, not by word only, but also by reproduction of Him in themselves, and to win all men to love Him.
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