December 15 2016
Mary is...an outsider brought in to the center of the story by the power of
God, the unexpected "non-person" who brought the messiah to life. In this
context, the conception of Jesus as presented in Matthew is, at the most
profound theological level, an insight into the strange patterns of history:
God working to bring about salvation through people and circumstances that
secure and self-satisfied human beings tend to ignore or disparage.
Narrative remembrance of this Mary(author's emphasis) rearranges one's
vision of what is possible despite hardened historical "givens" and turns
"outsiders" toward action on behalf of their own dignity. This too is the
Word of God ALL Thanks be to God. (Elizabeth Johnson, "Reconstructing a
Theology of Mary," p82)
Psalm Response: Men recite bold, women respond.
Come o Wisdom, Sophia's Child and Mary's too
Bring us back to you.
Come O Adonai, Child of Ancient Israel
Set us free of fear, despair, and misogyny.
Come O of Flower of Jesse's tree, uproot our hatreds.
Wash us clean in just-reign waters
Plant us deep in thee.
Come O Key of David, Open heaven's gate.
Unlock, unblock, this captive Church
Too long enthralled with (power).
Come O Radiant Dawn, dispel death's dark shadow.
Light the way of all who long
To preach, to teach, to consecrate Heavenly Hosts
Of God's indwelling.
Come O Emmanuel, God's gladsome "with us" news,
Strengthen weary arms, steady trembling knees.
Bring surcease of sorrow.
Come O Advent Light, (All respond:) pierce December gloom,
Quicken our waiting world with life's fresh blessed tomorrow.
Bring joyful tidings of God's new birth.
Come through the labor of a woman, borne
So all know well Emmanuel. Amen
(Chris Schenk csj 10/98 based on the O Antiphons)
"Advent is always a new beginning. It is actually a beginning and an ending.
We are beginning a new life with Christ at the center, a life that is full
with Christ. We are leaving and ending an old life. This must be so. There
must be this movement...We need to relinquish and empty ourselves, so that
the newness Christ brings can enter and have a place to stay. We as Advent
pilgrims on the way to the manger---to the great newness that the child
brings-must allow ourselves to pass through the desert where John is
preaching. This too is the Word of God. All: Thanks be to God. (Paul
Harkness, "Our Journey to the Cradle.")
Gospel: Luke 2:1-19
In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a consensus of
the whole Roman World. This first census took place while Quirinius was
governor of Syria. All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of
their birth to register. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in
Galilee to the city of David-Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the
house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused
wife, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her delivery. Mary gave birth to
her firstborn, a son; she put him in a simple cloth wrapped like a receiving
blanket, and laid him in a feeding trough for cattle, because there was no
room for them at the inn.
There were shepherds in the area living in the fields and keeping night
watch by turns over their flock. The angel of God appeared to them, and the
glory of God shown around them; they were very much afraid.
The angels said to them, "you have nothing to fear! I come to proclaim good
news to you-news of a great joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in
David's city, a savior-the Messiah---has been born to you. Let this be a
sign to you: you'll find an infant wrapped in a simple cloth, lying in a
Suddenly; there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying, "Glory to God in high heaven! And on earth, peace
to those on whom God's favor rests. "
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
"Let's go straight to Bethlehem and see this event that God has made known
to us." They hurried and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the
manger; once they saw this, they reported what they had been told concerning
the child. All who heard about it were astonished at the report given by the
shepherds. Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her
heart. The Good News of our salvation. ALL: Glory and Praise to our newborn
Prince of Peace.
Reflection "Who am I as I visit the stable of Jesus' birth at the end of
2016?" Shared homily.
Blessed and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!