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Contents: Volume 2 -

     Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God - 1/1/2022

     The Epiphany of the Lord - 1/2/2022

     The 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - 1/16/2022

1. -- Lanie LeBlanc OP

2. -- Brian Gleeson CP

3. -- Paul O'Reilly SJ

4. -- (Your reflection can be here!)

 

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1.

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Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God 2022

How fitting that we would begin the New Year of 2022 with a focus on Mary, the Mother of God, and our mother as well. 2021 was not exactly a year that most people I know want to remember except that somehow, it is over and we were blessed to see it end. Mary, in her lifetime, had many such challenges probably complicated by the fact that she was the Mother of God and still had little influence nonetheless on the happenings around her.

To me, that is the beauty of this solemnity. We celebrate Mary as the Mother of God, yes, for sure. She, however, as the mother of Jesus the boy and man, was not in charge! She often didn't understand why things unfolded the way they did. From the beginning, however, "Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."

Mary is the perfect role model for each of us, no matter who we are or what we do in life. Life is complicated. It seems to get more so every day! What can we do, what should we do? Let us do what Mary did: trust, pray, and reflect on things in our hearts!

Epiphany 2022

In the first reading from the book of Isaiah, the people were oppressed by the "darkness and thick clouds" of life, but their hope was renewed by hope in the Light to come. In the Letter to the Ephesians, we read/hear of "the stewardship of God's grace". It is this very grace that God has bestowed on the people of old and upon us to this very day.

In today's Gospel account according to Matthew, we are told the familiar story of the visit of the magi from the east. Included is Herod's attempt at trying to ascertain where the Christ might be born. It was God's grace that helped the magi to adhere to the warning to find "another way" in their lives and away from being complicit in Herod 's evil intent.

The manifestation of Christ to the world through the visit of the magi, the Epiphany, is an invitation to us to be part of that manifestation as well. We have been given every spiritual gift, gifts that will allow us to point to Jesus alive in our world today. As we proclaim the Scriptures to all, let us acclaim God's goodness and faithfulness as the continuance of our history in God's care, through Jesus, in 2022.

Blessings,

Dr. Lanie LeBlanc OP

Southern Dominican Laity

lanie@leblanc.one

 

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2.

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PRESENTS AND PRESENCE: FEAST OF THE EPIPHANY OF THE LORD C

Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6; Matthew 2:1-12

At Christmas time we give presents to different people. Different people give presents to us. What's it all about? It all goes back to the story of the wise men from the East going to Bethlehem, falling on their knees, and offering the best gifts they could afford to the Baby King.

But Christmas is not just about giving presents. It’s more about being present, i.e., sharing ourselves with warmth, affection, and sincerity. The quality of our presence is everything. In practice, gift-giving may sometimes be aimed more at keeping on-side and keeping the peace than being really present. Gift-giving may at times be part of the commercialization of Christmas instead of an expression of unconditional love.

In contrast, the wise men are completely single-minded and sincere in their gift-giving. Their gifts are expressions of their respect, reverence, gratitude, and love for the child. Their gifts are given with no strings attached, no conditions, and no mixed motives.

The flaws in our gift-giving may make us feel that the whole business of exchanging Christmas presents should be abolished and that the commercialization of Christmas should be restrained and restricted, if not eliminated.

If and when we think such thoughts, it may help to remember that the commercialisation and consumerism of Christmas are somewhat necessary. Were it a completely spiritual celebration, hundreds of small businesses would go to the wall. Thousands of factory workers making bonbons, trees, chocolates, decorations, cards, and toys, would find themselves unemployed.

It may also be helpful to remember that if people did not spend money on gifts to family and friends at Christmas, their consciences would not be roused to make donations to the poor and needy at this special time of giving and sharing. (Many charities, in fact, experience a big boost at Christmas time).

Despite the limits and flaws in our gift-giving, it’s important to both keep the practice alive and purify it of its worst excesses. It's particularly important to the lives of children. The good news is that while they are attracted to receiving e.g., a gift of an iPad or shiny new roller-blades, they are also attracted to the Crib and the story of the baby lying there clothed in rags. Their hearts are touched by the plight of his parents who are so poor that they can offer him nothing but their protection and affection. In fact, children very easily get the message that this is a story of love. They appreciate the humanity of the Holy Family, their struggles, and their sacrifices, to bring to the human race the Light of the Nations.

The story of the visit to the Crib by the Wise Men is a story of giving and receiving. It speaks of how gifts express love between persons, and of how gifts given with love bind people together. But it is not simply about the giving of things - in this case, gold, frankincense, and myrrh - but the giving of persons, the sharing of selves.

In celebrating Epiphany, we are celebrating the greatest manifestation of goodness there has ever been, that of God's love for us. For it was out of love, that God the Father gave us the Son, and gave him to be our Light, our Savior, our King, our Hope, our Love, and our Joy. The poet John Betjeman has written of this precious gift from God:

A present that cannot be priced

Given two thousand years ago.

Yet if God had not given so

He still would be a distant stranger

And not the Baby in the manger.

Jesus, then, is the celebrity we are celebrating. He’s the reason for the season, the Twelve Days of Christmas. So, as a beautiful carol puts it: ‘JOY, JOY, FOR CHRIST IS BORN, THE BABE, THE SON OF MARY!’

As our Eucharist continues then, I suggest that we make a special point of giving thanks for the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives. He is ours, and we are his! May we acknowledge with sincerity that he is the most valuable present we have ever received! May we also in return renew the gift of our whole selves, our whole lives, to both our great and loving God, and to the people who need us most!

"Brian Gleeson CP" <bgleesoncp@gmail.com>

 

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Year A, B, C: 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time (Christmas). (God in the Box)

 

The Word was made flesh,

he lived among us,

and we saw his glory,

the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father,

full of grace and truth. [John 1.14]

Every time I open the tabernacle, I think of a little girl called Annette. When I knew her, she would have been about 7. And whenever the tabernacle was opened and the Blessed Sacrament taken out, she would always crouch down and cover her eyes. Every now and then she would take a little peek through her fingers - like this! <Gesture of hands over eyes> And she would only relax when the Blessed Sacrament was put back in the tabernacle. When I asked her why she did this, she said: "Well God can do anything, so I always worry what he might do when he’s out of his box!"

It is so very difficult to comprehend the idea that God - the Almighty who created us and all the universe - could come among us as an ordinary man. It is something that makes us instinctively afraid - like that little girl. I think that is why some people refuse to accept Jesus Christ as truly the Son of God, even when they accept the reality of God and the authority of the scriptures.

In the 4th century of the Church’s life, there lived a man called Arius. And he asked a very important question of the Church: If we say that we believe in one God and that God the Father is the creator, how can we then say that Jesus Christ, Son of God is also God without beginning or end? The early church realised this question was absolutely crucial and brought together all the bishops of what was then the entire Christian world to meet in Council and to answer it. They examined the scriptures and especially these passages that we have read today. And they saw that the consistent testimony of the scriptures is that Jesus Christ truly Is God without beginning or end.

In the first reading Sirach describes the wisdom of God, through whom all things were made and who according to the scriptures is incarnate for us as Jesus Christ.

In the second reading St Paul tells us of how "before the world was made, he chose us, chose Us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence,... and become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ."

And in the gospel, St John tells us that Christ - the Word of God - was present in God before all time. And so we have to say if we believe in the Bible at all, then we must believe what it says about Christ. That he was not just a very good man who worked miracles and told parables and died on a cross. What we must believe is that he was God among us - the creator and savior of us all. That is not an easy thing to believe - it is not just seven-year-old girls who might prefer God to stay quietly in his box. But with the incarnation of God in our world, the power of Christ is among us and cannot be confined. There is no escaping the fact and, as Annette knows, if we are willing to let him, there is no knowing what he may do in our lives. Think of that the next time you see somebody open a tabernacle.

Let us stand and profess our Faith in God who has the power to change everything.

Paul O'Reilly, SJ <fatbaldnproud@opalityone.net>

 

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Volume 2 is for you. Your thoughts, reflections, and insights on the next Sundays readings can influence the preaching you hear. Send them to preacherexchange@att.net.  Deadline is Wednesday Noon. Include your Name, and Email Address.

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Volume II Archive

We keep up to six articles in this archive.  The latest is always listed first.

3rd SUNDAY 2nd SUNDAY Baptism of the Lord Mary/Epiphany/Sunday2 Christmas/Holy Family 4 ADVENT (C)


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