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Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 01-08-12, Solemnity, The Epiphany of the Lord ^ | 01-08-12 | RevisedNew American Bible

Posted on 01/07/2012 8:09:22 PM PST by Salvation

January 8, 2012


The Epiphany of the Lord


Reading 1 Is 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem! Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 72:1-2, 7-8, 10-11, 12-13.

R. (cf. 11) Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king's son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts;
the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.
All kings shall pay him homage,
all nations shall serve him.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.
For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save.
R. Lord, every nation on earth will adore you.

Reading 2 Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God's grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation.
It was not made known to people in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit:
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

Gospel Mt 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
"Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage."
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel."
Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
"Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage."
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; christmas; prayer; saints
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1 posted on 01/07/2012 8:09:33 PM PST by Salvation
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2 posted on 01/07/2012 8:12:42 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Isaiah 60:1-6

A Radiant New Jerusalem

[1] Arise, shine; for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
[2] For behold, darkness shall cover the earth,
and thick darkness the peoples;
but the Lord will arise upon you,
and his glory will be seen upon you.
[3] And nations shall come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your rising.

[4] Lift up your eyes round about, and see;
they all gather together, they come to you;
your sons shall come from far,
and your daughters shall be carried in the arms.
[5] Then you shall see and be radiant,
your heart shall thrill and rejoice;
because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you,
the wealth of the nations shall come to you.
[6] A multitude of camels shall cover you,
the young camels of Midian and Ephah;
all those from Sheba shall come.


60:1-64:11. In the central section of Third Isaiah, the restored Jerusalem has a
wonderful radiance; it is the dwelling place of the glory of the Lord, and from it all
the nations will hear about God’s salvation. These are chapters that shine with
hope and joy. In the opening verses, Jerusalem, the Lord’s spouse, is invited to
leap with joy, for the glory of the Lord will light up the holy city, which will become
a beacon for the nations (60:1-22). From there, too, the Lord’s herald proclaims
the good news of salvation to the poor, the oppressed and all who labor under
some burden (61:1-11). The holy city will radiate righteousness for all the nations
to see (62:1-12). Finally, the Lord, depicted as a conqueror, enthroned in a glori-
ous Jerusalem, is proclaimed as the sovereign lord who wilt judge and reward
and punish (63:1-64:11).

60:1-22. These verses are a magnificent hymn to Jerusalem, completely resto-
red, idealized; the prophet does not need to identify it by name. The most remar-
kable feature of the city is its radiance, mentioned at the start and end of the po-
em (vv. 1-3 and 19-22): it stems from the glory of the Lord, who has made the ci-
ty’s temple his dwelling-place. The city acts as a magnet for all the nations, not
only because it instructs them by means of the Law and by the word of God, as
we heard at the start of the book (2:2-4; cf. Mic 4:1-3) but also because they are
in awe of its splendor. The central verses of the poem rejoice in the pilgrimages
that make their way to the holy city: first, those of Israelites, who had been scat-
tered across the world: the pilgrims are most happy and they bear rich gifts for
the Lord (vv. 4-9). Foreigners will come, too, and they will bring precious materi-
als to reconstruct and embellish the city they previously destroyed. The obei-
sance they must do corresponds to the harm they did earlier (vv. 10-14). But the
most important event is the arrival of the Lord who will bring gifts in abundance,
the most precious being peace (vv. 15-10) and light (vv. 19-22). This picture of
the new Jerusalem (one would expect) must have raised the spirits of those en-
gaged in the final stages of the rebuilding of the temple.

This poem clearly has resonances with the eschatological description of the hea-
venly Jerusalem in the Revelation to John (cf. Rev 21:9-27). Some of the wording
is virtually the same: cf. v. 3 with Rev 21:24 (”By its light shall the nations work;
and the kings of the earth shall bring their glory into it”); v. 11 with Rev 21:25-26
(”its gates shall never be shut by day — and there will be no night there”); v. 14
with Rev 3:9 (”I will make them come and bow down before your feet”); v. 19 with
Rev 21:23 (”the city has no need of sun or moon to shine upon it, for the glory
of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb”) and 22:5 (”night shall be no more;
they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they
shall reign for ever and ever”). The hopes harbored by the early Christians (and
the consolation to which the new people of God look forward) are in continuity
with the hope felt by the ancient people of Israel. The message of Isaiah and
that of the book of Revelation were each (in different historical contexts) calling
for firm faith in the Savior of all. The New Testament fills out the Old by openly
declaring that God saves us through his Son, Jesus Christ.

60:4-9. The pilgrimage described here comes from all corners of the earth, and
yet it is a familial one. It is made up of people who were scattered throughout the
known world, and not just those exiled in Babylon. Those from the west come by
sea (v. 5), bearing the sort of goods normally transported by sea, particularly by
Greek and Phoenician merchants. Those from the east, from the Arabian penin-
sula (Kedar and Nebaioth) and further afield will travel in caravans bringing pre-
cious commodities typical of the area — silver, gold etc. (v. 6). The visit of the
Magi, who came bearing presents to adore Jesus, is in line with the sort of com-
merce that was current at the time, and it is probably connected with this text
of Isaiah. Certainly, when this passage is read in the liturgy on the Solemnity of
the Epiphany, the implication is that those rich gifts brought to the temple in ho-
nor of the Lord prefigure those that the Magi offered to him who is truly the “Lord
your God”, “the Holy One of Israel” (v. 9). “Today, the wise man finds lying in a
manger the One he had searched for as a brilliant light shining among the stars.
Today, the wise man sees wrapped in swaddling clothes the One he long sought
to find, unveiled, in the heavens. Today, to his great surprise, the wise man dis-
cerns in what he studies: heaven on earth, earth in the heavens, man in God,
and God in man; what the whole universe could not contain inhabits the body of
a child. And seeing all this, he believes and doubts no more; and he announces
it to all, using his mystical powers: incense for God, gold for the King, and myrrh
for the One who will die. Today, the Gentile who was once last is first, because
the faith of the wise man sanctifies the belief of all the peoples” (St Peter Chryso-
logus, “Semones”, 160). And Eusebius of Caesarea comments: “The conversion
of the Gentiles glorifies the Church of God in a special way. The prophecy, “I will
glorify my glorious house” [60:7], is fulfilled. This promise was made to the old
Jerusalem, the mother of the new city, who, as has already been said, was the
community of all among the ancient people who lived righteous lives — the pro-
phets and patriarchs, all just men, those to whom the coming of Christ was first
proclaimed” (”Commentaria in Isaiam”, 60, 6-7).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

3 posted on 01/07/2012 8:14:04 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

From: Ephesians 3:2-3a, 5-6

St Paul’s Mission

(I am) [2] Assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that
was given to me for you, [3a] how the mystery was made known to me by reve-
lation, [5] which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations
as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6]
that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and par-
takers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.


1-21. Christ’s saving work on behalf of the Gentiles, calling them to be, with the
Jews, living stones in the edifice of the Church, leads the Apostle once again to
overflow in prayer (vv. 14-21). But first he considers his own position and what
Christ has done in him by making him a minister or servant of the Mystery of
Christ (vv. 2-13). He witnesses to the revelation he himself has received, which
made this Mystery known to him (vv. 2-5); and he goes on to give a summary
of the Mystery, emphasizing the call of the Gentiles to the Church through the
preaching of the Gospel (v. 6); he then explains that his mission is precisely to
preach the Mystery of Christ to the Gentiles (vv. 7-13).

1-4. What led to St Paul’s imprisonment was Jewish charges that he had prea-
ched against the Law and had brought Gentiles into the temple (they thought
Trophimus, a citizen of Ephesus, was a Gentile: cf. Acts 21:28f). He did not
mind so much the chains or the imprisonment or the Romans being his judges
and jailers: what he wanted to make clear was that he was imprisoned for prea-
ching to the Gentiles the salvation won by Jesus Christ.

He is very conscious of being an instrument specially chosen by God: he has
been given the grace to reveal the “Mystery” (cf. Rom 1:15; 2 Cor 12:2f). He
is clearly referring to the vision he had on the road to Damascus (cf. Acts 9:2)
and possibly to later revelations as well. His encounter with the risen Christ,
who identifies himself with his Church (cf. Acts 9:5), is the origin and basis of
his grasp of God’s eternal plan, the “Mystery”, which is one of the central tea-
chings in this letter. The fact that Christ revealed himself to Paul and chose
him to be the preacher of the Gospel to the Gentiles is something which Paul
sees as part of the systematic implementation — the “oikonomia” — of God’s

5. In the Old Testament the promise made to Abraham revealed that in his off-
spring all the nations of the earth would be blessed (cf. Gen 12:3; Sir 44:21); but
how this would happen was not revealed. The Jews always thought that it would
come about through their exaltation over other nations. Through the revelation
Jesus made to him, St Paul has discovered that God has chosen another way—
that of bringing the Gentiles into the Church, the body of Christ, on equal terms
with the Jews. This is the “Mystery”, the plan of God as revealed by the mission
Christ gave his apostles or envoys (cf. Mt 28:19), of whom St Paul is one (cf. 3:
8). Once again, as in 2:20, prophets are mentioned together with apostles; this
may mean either the Old Testament prophets who announced the coming Mes-
siah, or the New Testament prophets, that is, the Apostles themselves and other
Christians who had insight, through revelation, into God’s saving plans for the
Gentiles and who proclaimed them under the inspiration of the Spirit.

The context and other passages in Ephesians and elsewhere in the New Testa-
ment (cf. Eph 4:11; 1 Cor 12:28f; Acts 11:27; etc.) would suggest that he is re-
ferring to New Testament prophets. The Holy Spirit has revealed the Mystery to
them “that they might preach the Gospel, stir up faith in Jesus the Messiah and
Lord, and bring together the Church” (Vatican II, “Dei Verbum”, 17). St Paul does
not see himself as the only person to whom it has been given to know the Mys-
tery revealed in Jesus Christ. All that he is saying is that, by the grace of God, it
has been made known to him and that its preaching has been entrusted to him
in a special way, just as it was given to St Peter to preach it to the Jews (cf.
Gal 2:7).

St Paul attributes to the Holy Spirit the revelation of the Mystery, recalling, no
doubt, how he himself came to know it after his meeting with Jesus on the road
to Damascus (cf. Acts 9:17). It is the Spirit also who acts in the apostles and
prophets (cf. Acts 2:17), and it is he who on an on-going basis vivifies the Church,
enabling it to proclaim the Gospel. “The Holy Spirit is the soul of the Church. It
is he who explains to the faithful the deep meaning of the teaching of Jesus and
of his mystery. It is the Holy Spirit who, today just as at the beginning of the
Church, acts in every evangelizer who allows himself to be possessed and led
by him. The Holy Spirit places on his lips the words which he could not find him-
self, and at the same time the Holy Spirit predisposes the soul of the hearer to
be open and receptive to the Good News and to the Kingdom being proclaimed”
(Paul VI, “Evangelii Nuntiandi”, 75).

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

4 posted on 01/07/2012 8:16:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

From: Matthew 2:1-12

The Adoration of the Magi

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the
king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, [2] “Where is
He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East,
and have come to worship Him.” [3] When Herod the kind heard this, he was
troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; [4] and assembling all the chief priests
and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
[5] They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: [6]
‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the
rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’”

[7] Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them
what time the star appeared; [8] and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go
and search diligently for the Child, and when you have found Him bring me word,
that I too may come and worship Him.” [9] When they had heard the king they
went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before
them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. [10] When they saw
the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; [11] and going into the house
they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell down and worshipped

Then, opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts, gold and frankincense and
myrrh. [12] And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed
to their own country by another way.


1. “King Herod”: four different Herods are mentioned in the New Testament. The
first is Herod the Great, referred to in this passage and in the next; the second,
his son, Herod Antipas, who had St. John the Baptist beheaded (Matthew 14:1-
12) and who abused our Lord during His passion (Luke 23:7-11); the third, Herod
Agrippa I, a nephew of Herod the Great, who executed the Apostle St. James the
Greater (Acts 12:1-3), imprisoned St. Peter (Acts 12:4-7), and died suddenly and
mysteriously (Acts 12:20-23). The fourth, Herod Agrippa II, was Herod Agrippa’s
son. It was before him that St. Paul answered Jewish accusations when he was
a prisoner in Caesarea (Acts 25:23).

Herod the Great, who appears here, was the son of non-Jewish parents. He
came to power with the aid and as a vassal of the Romans. He was a consum-
mate politician and among other things he rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem on a
lavish scale. Herod the Great had a persecution complex; everywhere he saw
rivals to his throne. He was notorious for his cruelty: he killed over half of his ten
wives, some of his children and many people of standing. This information de-
rives largely from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who wrote towards the
end of the first century, and it confirms the cruel picture drawn in the Gospels.

“Wise men”: these were learned men, probably from Persia, who devoted them-
selves to the study of the stars. Since they were not Jews, they can be consi-
dered to be the very first Gentiles to receive the call to salvation in Christ. The
adoration of the wise men forms part of the very earliest documented tradition:
the scene is already depicted at the beginning of the second century in the pain-
tings in the catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome.

2. The Jews had made known throughout the East their hope of a Messiah.
The wise men knew about this expected Messiah, king of the Jews. According
to ideas widely accepted at the time, this sort of person, because of his signifi-
cance in world history, would have a star connected with his birth. God made
use of these ideas to draw to Christ these representatives of the Gentiles who
would later be converted.

“The star had been hidden from them so that, on finding themselves without
their guide, they would have no alternative but to consult the Jews. In this way
the birth of Jesus would be known to all” (St. John Chrysostom, “Hom. on St.
Matthew”, 7).

St. John Chrysostom also points out that “God calls them by means of the
things they are most familiar with; and He shows them a large and extraordina-
ry star so that they would be impressed by its size and beauty” (”Hom. on St.
Matthew”, 6). God called the wise men in the midst of their ordinary occupations,
and He still calls people in that way. He called Moses when he was shepherding
his flock (Exodus 3:1-3), Elisha the prophet ploughing his land with oxen (1 Kings
19:19-20), Amos looking after his herd (Amos 7:15).... “What amazes you seems
natural to me: that God has sought you out in the practice of your profession!
That is how He sought the first, Peter and Andrew, James and John, beside their
nets, and Matthew, sitting in the custom-house. And — wonder of wonders! —
Paul, in his eagerness to destroy the seed of the Christians” (St. J. Escriva,
“The Way”, 799).

“Like the Magi we have discovered a star — a light and a guide in the sky of our
soul. ‘We have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ We
have had the same experience. We too noticed a new light shining in our soul
and growing increasingly brighter. It was a desire to live a fully Christian life, a
keenness to take God seriously” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 32).

4. In all Jewish circles at the time of Jesus, the hope was widespread that the
Messiah would come soon. The general idea was that he would be a king, like
a new and even greater David. Herod’s worry is therefore all the more understan-
dable: he governed the Jews with the aid of the Romans and cruelly and jealous-
ly guarded his crown. Due to his political ambition and his lack of a religious
sense, Herod saw a potential King-Messiah as a dangerous rival to his own
worldly power.

In the time of our Lord, both Herod’s monarchy and the occupying Romans
(through their procurators) recognized the Sanhedrin as the representative body
of the Jewish people. The Sanhedrin was, therefore, the nation’s supreme coun-
cil which ruled on day-to-day affairs, both religious and civil. The handling of the
more important questions needed the approval of either the king (under Herod’s
monarchy) or the Roman procurator (at the time of the direct Roman occupation
of Palestine). Following Exodus 24:1-9 and Numbers 11:16, the Sanhedrin was
composed of 71 members presided over by the high priest. The members were
elected from three groupings: 1) the chief priests, that is, the leaders of the prin-
cipal priestly families; it was these families who appointed the high priest (the
chief priests also included anybody who had formerly held the high priesthood);
2) the elders, or the leaders of the most important families; 3) the scribes, who
were teachers of the Law or experts on legal and religious matters; the majority
of these scribes belonged to the party or school of the Pharisees.

In this passage of St. Matthew only the first and third of the above groups are
mentioned. This is understandable since the elders would have no authority in
the matter of the birth of the Messiah — a purely religious question.

5-6. The prophecy referred to in this passage is Micah 5:1. It is worth noting that
Jewish tradition interpreted this prophecy as predicting the Messiah’s exact place
of birth and as referring to a particular person. The second text thus teaches us
once more that the prophecies of the Old Testament are fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

8. Herod tried to find out exactly where the Child was — not, of course, to adore
Him, as he said, but to dispose of Him. Such was Herod’s exclusively political
view of things. Yet neither his shrewdness nor his wickedness could prevent
God’s plans from being fulfilled. Despite Herod’s ambition and his scheming,
God’s wisdom and power were going to bring salvation about.

9. “It might happen at certain moments of our interior life — and we are nearly al-
ways to blame — that the star disappears, just as it did to the wise kings on their
journey.... What should we do if this happens?

Follow the example of those wise men and ask. Herod used knowledge to act
unjustly. The Magi used it to do good. But we Christians have no need to go to
Herod nor to the wise men of this world. Christ has given His Church sureness
of doctrine and a flow of grace in the Sacraments. He has arranged things so
that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us constantly
of our way” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 34).

11. The gifts they offered — gold, frankincense and myrrh — were those most va-
lued in the East. People feel the need to give gifts to God to show their respect
and faith. Since they cannot give themselves as a gift, which is what they would
wish, they give instead what is most valuable and dear to them.

The prophets and the psalmists foretold that the kings of the earth would pay ho-
mage to God at the time of the Messiah (Isaiah 49:23). They would offer Him their
treasures (Isaiah 60:5) and adore Him (Psalm 72:10-15). Through this action of
the wise men and the offering of their gifts to Jesus, these prophecies begin to
be fulfilled.

The Council of Trent expressly quotes this passage when it underlines the vene-
ration that ought to be given to Christ in the Eucharist: “The faithful of Christ vene-
rate this most holy Sacrament with the worship of latria which is due to the true
God.... For in this Sacrament we believe that the same God is present whom the
eternal Father brought into the world, saying of Him, ‘Let all God’s angel worship
Him’ (Hebrews 1:6; cf. Psalm 97:7). It is the same God whom the Magi fell down
and worshipped (cf. Matthew 2:11) and, finally, the same God whom the Apostles
adored in Galilee as Scriptures says (Matthew 28:17)” (Decree, “De SS. Euchari-
sta”, Chapter 5).

St. Gregory of Nazianzen has also commented on this verse, as follows: “Let
us remain in adoration; and to Him, who, in order to save us, humbled Himself to
such a degree of poverty as to receive our body, let us offer not only incense, gold
and myrrh (the first as God, the second as king, and the third as one who sought
death for our sake), but also spiritual gifts, more sublime than those which can
be seen with the eyes” (”Oratio”, 19).

12. The involvement of the wise men in the events at Bethlehem ends with yet
another act of respectful obedience and cooperation with God’s plans. Christians
also should be receptive to the specific grace and mission God has given them.
They should persevere in this even if it means having to change any personal
plans they may have made.

Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.

5 posted on 01/07/2012 8:18:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Mass Readings

First reading Isaiah 55:1-11 ©
Thus says the Lord:
Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty;
though you have no money, come!
Buy corn without money, and eat,
and, at no cost, wine and milk.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
your wages on what fails to satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat
and rich food to enjoy.
Pay attention, come to me;
listen, and your soul will live.
With you I will make an everlasting covenant
out of the favours promised to David.
See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples,
a leader and a master of the nations.
See, you will summon a nation you never knew,
those unknown will come hurrying to you,
for the sake of the Lord your God,
of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.
Seek the Lord while he is still to be found,
call to him while he is still near.
Let the wicked man abandon his way,
the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn back to the Lord who will take pity on him,
to our God who is rich in forgiving;
for my thoughts are not your thoughts,
my ways not your ways – it is the Lord who speaks.
Yes, the heavens are as high above earth
as my ways are above your ways,
my thoughts above your thoughts.
Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating, so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

First reading Isaiah 42:1-4,6-7 ©
Thus says the Lord:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom my soul delights.
I have endowed him with my spirit
that he may bring true justice to the nations.
He does not cry out or shout aloud,
or make his voice heard in the streets.
He does not break the crushed reed,
nor quench the wavering flame.
Faithfully he brings true justice;
he will neither waver, nor be crushed
until true justice is established on earth,
for the islands are awaiting his law.
I, the Lord, have called you to serve the cause of right;
I have taken you by the hand and formed you;
I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to free captives from prison,
and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.

Canticle Isaiah 12 ©
The rejoicing of a redeemed people
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Truly, God is my salvation,
  I trust, I shall not fear.
For the Lord is my strength, my song,
  he became my saviour.
With joy you will draw water
  from the wells of salvation.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Give thanks to the Lord, give praise to his name!
  Make his mighty deeds known to the peoples!
  Declare the greatness of his name.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Sing a psalm to the Lord
  for he has done glorious deeds;
  make them known to all the earth!
People of Zion, sing and shout for joy,
  for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Psalm Psalm 28:1-4,9-10 ©
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
O give the Lord, you sons of God,
  give the Lord glory and power;
give the Lord the glory of his name.
  Adore the Lord in his holy court.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The Lord’s voice resounding on the waters,
  the Lord on the immensity of waters;
the voice of the Lord, full of power,
  the voice of the Lord, full of splendour.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.
The God of glory thunders.
  In his temple they all cry: ‘Glory!’
The Lord sat enthroned over the flood;
  the Lord sits as king for ever.
The Lord will bless his people with peace.

Second reading 1 John 5:1-9 ©
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ
has been begotten by God;
and whoever loves the Father that begot him
loves the child whom he begets.
We can be sure that we love God’s children
if we love God himself and do what he has commanded us;
this is what loving God is –
keeping his commandments;
and his commandments are not difficult,
because anyone who has been begotten by God
has already overcome the world;
this is the victory over the world –
our faith.
Who can overcome the world?
Only the man who believes that Jesus is the Son of God:
Jesus Christ who came by water and blood,
not with water only,
but with water and blood;
with the Spirit as another witness –
since the Spirit is the truth –
so that there are three witnesses,
the Spirit, the water and the blood,
and all three of them agree.
We accept the testimony of human witnesses,
but God’s testimony is much greater,
and this is God’s testimony,
given as evidence for his Son.

Second reading Acts 10:34-38 ©
Peter addressed Cornelius and his household: ‘The truth I have now come to realise’ he said ‘is that God does not have favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.
  ‘It is true, God sent his word to the people of Israel, and it was to them that the good news of peace was brought by Jesus Christ – but Jesus Christ is Lord of all men. You must have heard about the recent happenings in Judaea; about Jesus of Nazareth and how he began in Galilee, after John had been preaching baptism. God had anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and because God was with him, Jesus went about doing good and curing all who had fallen into the power of the devil.’

Gospel Acclamation cf.Jn1:29
Alleluia, alleluia!
John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said:
This is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

Gospel Mark 1:7-11 ©
In the course of his preaching John the Baptist said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
  It was at this time that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. No sooner had he come up out of the water than he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit, like a dove, descending on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

6 posted on 01/07/2012 8:27:34 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
On Christmas
Solemn Mass of Christmas Eve with Pope Benedict XVI

Christmas, Pagan Romans and Frodo Baggins
Midnight Masses Canceled in Iraq Because of Growing Security Concerns
Christmas Overview for All
The Tradition of Midnight Mass: History
Which Christmas Mass are you attending? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Christmas, Christians, and Christ
The Many Meanings of Christmas
Vocations Under the Christmas Tree? [Catholic Caucus]
A Meditation On the “Bloody Octave” of Christmas [Catholic Caucus]
"It (Theosis) can be a somewhat startling theme for western Christian ears..."
Archbishop Wenski brightens Christmas for Krome detainees
The Octave of Christmas: December 25 -- January 1 [Ecumenical]
Pope's Christmas Warning: 'The Future Of The World Is At Stake'
Father Corapi: What Really Matters [at Christmas]?
Papal Midnight Mass With No Communion in The Hand
Christmas Requiem for Iraq's Christian Community
Christmas story shows season’s beauty [nice surprise from the Chicago Sun Times]
Text Of Pope's Homily For Christmas Eve Mass
Merry Christmas: Love is born on Christmas Morn and the Whole World Begins Again
'Christmas is Evil': Muslim Group Launches Poster Campaign Against Festive Period [UK]

The Origin of Nativity Scenes
St. Francis and the Christmas Creche
Holy Day Vs. Holiday: Making Christmas Less Commercial
25 Ways We're Different this Christmas
On Christmas: Where Everything Began
Saved by Christmas
Christmas Midnight Mass Canceled in Iraq
Some Christmas History: The Aztec Christmas Flower
Top 10 Christmas Carols (What is your favorite Christmas Carol?)
Where’s the Human in Humanism? Humanist Ads Violate...Own Humanist Standards (Attacking Christmas]
Fr. Corapi: In Reality, Sadness Has No Place At Christmas Time Or Any Time…
Pope's battle to save Christmas: Don't let atheists crush your traditions, Benedict tells Britain
The Days of Christmastide -- more than twelve!
Saint Padre Pio's Christmas Meditation
"Transform Me. Renew Me. Change Me, Change Us All" (Pope's Midnight Mass Homily)
Christmas in Rome. The Pope's Tale of the Crèche
On the Feast of Christ's Birth [Benedict XVI]
The Meaning of Christmas: Look Deeper
St. Francis and the Christmas crib.
Away in a Manger [St. Francis of Assisi and the first Nativity scene]

Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace [Family]
Christmastide and Epiphany
A Christmas Message >From Fr. Corapi
Christmas and the Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Preface: Memories of Christmas
Christmas Overview
The Manger -- Nativity Scene -- Crêche
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Christmas Quiz; How Much Do You Really Know?
Christmas Prayers: Prayers and Collects for the Feast of the Nativity
[Christmas] Customs from Various Countries and Cultures
The 12 Days of Christmas and Christmastide: A Rich Catholic Tradition
The 12 Days of Christmas -- Activities, Customs, Prayers, Blessings, Hymns -- For the Family
Iraqis Crowd Churches for Christmas Mass
Pope Wishes the World a Merry Christmas
On this night, a comforting message(Merry Christmas!)
Advent through Christmas -- 2007
Bethlehem beyond the Christmas calm
The Origin of Nativity Scenes

Various Orthodox Texts for the Feast of the Nativity
The Five Best Christmas Stories
What Are We Celebrating When We Celebrate Christmas?
Secular Christmas Celebration Pointless, Pope Says
The Wonder of Christmas - 1959
The Real Meaning of Christmas Lights
Top ten Carols and things you didn't know about them
The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ
Christmas Proclamation
Christmas gifts are a reminder of Jesus, the greatest gift given to mankind, Pope tells youth
The Senses of Christmas
Pope celebrates Christmas mass
Christmas: The Turning Point of History
The Original Christmas Story
Bringing Christmas to Life Again
Christmas: the beginning of our redemption
Christmas and the Eucharist
Catholic Caucus: The 16 Days of Christmas (Christmas to the Baptism of the Lord)
Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas [An Underground Catechism]
Origin of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" [Underground Catechism]

7 posted on 01/07/2012 8:28:19 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
8 posted on 01/07/2012 8:29:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Continue to Pray for Pope Benedict [Ecumenical]
9 posted on 01/07/2012 8:30:06 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Jesus, High Priest

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

10 posted on 01/07/2012 8:30:54 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

Thank you Salvation.

11 posted on 01/07/2012 8:31:57 PM PST by RitaOK (HIS FEAR FILLED ENEMIES PROVE HIS COMPETENCE and THEY ARE LEGION / Newt 2012)
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To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day He rose again. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross


The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.

The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]

12 posted on 01/07/2012 8:32:39 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All


St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.

13 posted on 01/07/2012 8:33:18 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

Psalm 109:8

    "Let his days be few; and let another take his place of leadership."


Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.

14 posted on 01/07/2012 8:33:57 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

Feast of
the Holy Name of Jesus

Luke 2:21 "...Et vocatum est Nomen eius IESUS"
("And His Name was called JESUS")

Psalm 90:14 "Because he hoped in me I will deliver him:
I will protect him because he hath known My Name."

Zacharias 10:12 "I will strengthen them in the Lord,
and they shall walk in His Name, saith the Lord."

Apocalypse 3:8 "I know thy works. Behold, I have given before thee a door opened, which no man can shut: because thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied My Name."

Apocalypse 15:4 "Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and magnify Thy Name?..."


Blessed be the most holy Name of Jesus without end!

January Devotion: The Holy Name of Jesus

The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. This feast is also celebrated on January 3. Here is an explanation of the devotion.

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has associated entire months to special devotions. The devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus has been traditionally associated with the month of January, due to its celebration on January 3. The name Jesus was given to the Holy Child at God's command (Luke 1:31). The Holy Name is all-powerful because of the Person who bears it; we honor it because of the command of Christ, that we should pray in His Name and because it reminds us of all the blessings we receive through our Holy Redeemer. Hence St. Paul was able to write to the Philippians: ". . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth" (Phil. 2:10). By means of this devotion we also make amends for improper use of the Holy Name.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Prayer/Hymn in Honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus - Iesu, Dulcis Memoria

Iesu, Dulcis Memoria is a celebrated 12th century hymn attributed to St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), Doctor Mellifluus. The entire hymn has some 42 to 53 stanzas depending upon the manuscript. Parts of this hymn were used for the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which was formerly celebrated on the Sunday between the Circumcision and Epiphany, or failing such a Sunday, on January 2. The part below was used at Vespers. In the liturgical revisions of Vatican II, the feast was deleted, though a votive Mass to the Holy Name of Jesus had been retained for devotional use. With the release of the revised Roman Missal in March 2002, the feast was restored as an optional memorial on January 3.

Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' name,
The Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart!
0 joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

---Roman Breviary

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

O Divine Jesus, Thou hast promised that anything we ask of the Eternal Father in Thy name shall be granted.

O Eternal Father. In the name of Jesus, for the love of Jesus, in fulfillment of this promise, and because Jesus has said it, grant us our petitions for the sake of Jesus, Thy Divine Son. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
Jesus, The Name above all Names
Devotion to the Holy Name (of Jesus) [Catholic Caucus]
Lessons In Iconography : The Chi Rho - Christ
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Excerpt from a Sermon) (Catholic Caucus)
St. Francis de Sales on the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)

St. Bernard on the Most Holy Name of Jesus [Ecumenical]
Saving the day in His Holy Name: St. Genevieve gets a reprieve [Catholic Caucus]
The Holy Name of Jesus
Holy Name of Jesus [San Bernadino of Siena] Ecumenical
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name [of Jesus]
The Name of Jesus: Its Power in Our Lives
The Holy Name of Jesus
Devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus
The Holy Name of Jesus

15 posted on 01/07/2012 8:35:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All

January 2012

Pope's Intentions

General Intention: Victims of Natural Disasters.
That the victims of natural disasters may receive the spiritual and material comfort they need to rebuild their lives.

Missionary Intention: Dedication to Peace.
That the dedication of Christians to peace may bear witness to the name of Christ before all men and women of good will.

16 posted on 01/07/2012 8:36:33 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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Arlington Catholic Herald

Imitate Magi with joy, homage, gift of self
By Fr. Jack Peterson, YA

The Epiphany of the Lord is fittingly celebrated during the Christmas season. It is a celebration of the manifestation of the Lord Jesus to the world. Over the centuries, three different “epiphanies” have been included in this celebration: the wedding at Cana when Jesus was made manifest to the disciples; the baptism of the Lord when He was made manifest to the Jews; and the visit of the Magi when the Lord was made manifest to the gentile world, the whole world. Traditionally, on this feast, Eastern Christians have focused on the baptism of the Lord, while Christians in the West have focused on the adoration of the Magi.

I would like to reflect with you upon the response of the Magi which stands out as something worthy of our imitation 2000 years later.

Matthew recounts that the Magi are “overjoyed” at seeing the star and entering the lodging of the Holy Family. The astrologers from the East are understandably filled with joy as they find the great goal of their long journey, the Infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. The star and the grace of God help them to see that this was no ordinary child.

As Christians, we see in the newborn Babe that God looks with pity upon our lowly human condition and does something about it. The Father’s love leads Him to send His most precious possession, His only begotten Son. God crashes through the barriers of time and space and is born in time of a lowly virgin; He comes to journey with us, to embrace our brokenness, to carry our burdens. The Son pitches His tent among us in order to save us from our sins. The amazing beauty of this great truth should never stop arousing joy in our hearts.

Secondly, Matthew tells us: “They prostrated themselves and did him homage.” In the presence of Jesus, these pilgrims fell to the ground. Did their legs buckle underneath as they become aware of the divine presence? Did the Spirit’s gift of reverence and awe well up in their hearts drive them to their knees?

As Christians, the mystery of the word made flesh still drives us to prostrate ourselves. So does the Blessed Sacrament of the word made flesh. In both mysteries, God overwhelms us with His magnificence and His humility. It is a good thing to fight the tendency to lose the sense of reverence and awe in God’s presence. Sometimes, like the worker who sells souvenirs in the shop at the Grand Canyon and becomes so familiar with the splendor of God’s creation that he fails to take notice of what lies before him, we Catholic Christians can become too “familiar” with the beauty of the Incarnation or the Lord’s presence in the holy Eucharist and fail to respond with the proper faith and reverence.

Thirdly, the Magi opened their treasures and offered gifts to the newborn King. Practically speaking, these gifts likely sustained the Holy Family during their exile in Egypt. More importantly, the gifts represent the total gift of self that God’s greatness demands. It is a very natural and fitting response to the grandeur and generosity of God to share what has been bestowed lovingly upon us.

As modern day followers of Christ, our lives should be marked with a similar generosity. The first response is to offer God worship: a sacrifice of thanksgiving (especially in the Mass), adoration, praise, reverence and awe, daily prayer, and obedience. The worship of God is one way that we can “give” back in a small but significant fashion.

Our worship of God should, then, lead directly to the loving and humble service of our neighbor, the sharing of God’s bounty. True faith makes us aware that everything we have is a gift. Even if we have worked hard for some of our blessings, absolutely everything good ultimately comes from the Lord. What we have received, we have been given to share, especially with those who have less.

The Lord Jesus was made manifest to the world in a grand way when the Magi visited the stable in Bethlehem. Their joy, their homage and their offering of gifts remain an example for those who come before Jesus in 2012.

Fr. Peterson is assistant chaplain at Marymount University in Arlington and director of the Youth Apostles Institute in McLean.

17 posted on 01/07/2012 8:49:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
The Work of God

 Three wise men saw his star and came to pay homage to the King Catholic Gospels - Homilies - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit

Year B

 -  Epiphany of the Lord

Three wise men saw his star and came to pay homage to the King

Three wise men saw his star and came to pay homage to the King Catholic Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark, John - Inspirations of the Holy Spirit Matthew 2:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2 asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."
3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
5 They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
6 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.' "
7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."
9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Epiphany of the Lord - Three wise men saw his star and came to pay homage to the King My birth was marked by a beautiful phenomenon in the heavens that attracted even the attention of three wise men from pagan lands. A star shone brightly and provided them with light and direction for their distant travel. I, the light of the world had come from above and even the stars shone with great beauty paying homage to the one who gave them light.

By divine inspiration the three wise men were moved to make the long journey from different lands, they prepared themselves with gifts to welcome me, the king of the Jews. They were not Jews and yet they were humble men who paid special attention to the signs and the divine inspirations given to them.

I was born in utter poverty, my mother and Joseph had looked for a place to spend that night of my birth but there was no place for us. Humanity was as cold on that night as it is today. Charity was denied to the mother of the savior of the world, and it was denied to me as well. It continues to be denied daily everywhere.

However some humble people were advised of my birth. So the shepherds of the area were visited by the angel of God with good news about the birth of the savior of the world, they came to worship, paid their respects and left full with joy and praise to God, they communicated the events to all those worthy to know.

The wise men also came to present gifts of incense, myrrh and gold which were most fitting for the king they had came to worship. The incense represents the faith which embrace all those who follow me, the myrrh represent the balm for the man of suffering that they unknowingly came to pay homage to. The gold, the most precious of metals was the offering made to the king of kings who came to offer the kingdom of heaven to every man.

And so started my epiphany, a manifestation of my presence among men. I came to my people, but from the very beginning I experienced rejection.

Herod was afraid of the new born king. He thought that I would be a powerful king that would bring about his fall, that is why he started plotting to kill me. The people of Jerusalem, the Jews were afraid in their ignorance, because they had conditioned their religion to reflect human laws not the law of God. They were facing a divine moment in their history and they were not prepared to meet me. In fact they were so jealous of me that in the end they put me to death.

But my Heavenly Father had disposed of my incarnation, so the word took flesh and came to speak, to give light, instruction, testimony of God and to redeem what was lost.

My work continues in every soul.

Open your heart dear child. I am the word of God, speaking to your heart. I have come to the world in the flesh. My spirit is everywhere, touching hearts, calling lovingly to accept my invitation to a perfect life.

Live by my gospel of salvation, eat the bread that I give, put all your confidence in me and I will save you.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

18 posted on 01/07/2012 8:54:20 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

As we consider the feast of the Epiphany, one of the central elements in the story is the Star. Endless theories on what the star really was, proliferate.

It may even have been the proximity of the planets Jupiter and Saturn that likely occurred around 6 BC. I thought of that the other night, since Jupiter is very bright in the southeastern sky just now, along the East Coast of the US. You can even take high powered binoculars and see some of its moons sparkling around it.

But the fact is, most of us city dwellers have no idea what we’re missing when it comes to the night sky. Up until about 100 years ago the night sky was illumined with billions of points of light, a breath-taking display most moderns have like experience of.

My first and only real glimpse of the magnificent Milky Way was about 15 years ago. I was visiting a priest friend in rural North Dakota. It was mid January, the very heart of winter, and the sky was cloudless, the temperature was just below zero, the humidity very low (thus, no haze). But the wind was light so we took a night time walk. Only an occasional street lamp lit the ground. As we got away from the town, just about half a mile, I looked up and couldn’t believe my eyes.

What is that?” I asked, “Are clouds coming in?
What do you mean?” asked my friend, “There are no clouds.”
What is all that?” I asked arching my arm upward.
He smiled, and said, “They are stars….that is the Milky Way.

I was both astounded and felt a tinge of anger that such a view had been deprived me all my life. So this is what the ancients saw every night. This is what inspired the psalmist to write, The heavens declare the glory of God, the firmament shows forth the work of His hand….night unto night takes up the message (Ps 19:1ff). This is what God meant when he told Abraham “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be” (Gen 15:5).

Frankly, on the east coast of the U.S. I can count the stars. But the true night sky is astonishing in the number of stars. An old hymn says:

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim…..

Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale…
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round our dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”

If there is ever a widespread power outage on the East Coast, I pray it will happen on a cloudless and un-humid night. If it does I will bid my neighbors to join me outside and behold the gift above.

As the Magi beheld a star, we moderns may think we know what they saw. But I have come to discover most of us city dwellers have little idea, really at all. The sky the ancients nightly saw and even some now see, in rural regions, is more glorious than most of us ever imagine: the stars in unbelievable numbers forever singing as they shine, the hand that made us is divine.

This video, in the second half,  shows some wonderful views of the stars in the night sky in high definition. Indeed, if your monitor is a good one, maximize the view of this video, which shows nicely even on larger screens.

19 posted on 01/07/2012 9:05:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Note: Here in America Epiphany is (sadly) transferred to a nearby Sunday instead of January 6. Hence, this Sunday we read of this event and celebrate it liturgically. With that in mind here are my homily notes for Epiphany, which, for some of you in other parts of the world may seem a bit late.

There are so many wonderful details in the Epiphany story: the call of the Gentiles, the nations, and their enthusiastic response, the significance of the star they see, and the gifts they bring, the dramatic interaction with Herod and their ultimate rejection of him in favor Christ.

In this meditation I would like especially to follow these wise men in their journey of faith. We can observe how they journey in stages from the light of a star, to the bright and glorious Light of Jesus Christ. And, of course to authentically encounter the Lord is to experience conversion. All the elements of this story serve ultimately to cause them to “return to their country by another route.” Let’s look at the stages of their journey to Jesus, let’s walk the way of the wise men.

Stage 1. CALL - The text says – When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” – Notice first the identity of these individuals. They are called Magi, (μάγοι, (magoi) in Greek) and they are from the East.

Exactly what “Magi” are is debated. Perhaps they are wise men, perhaps they are ancient astronomers. We often think of them as Kings though the text does not call them that. It also seems Herod would have been far more anxious had they been actual potentates from an Eastern Kingdom. In our imagination we often think of them as Kings since Psalm 72, read in today’s Mass, speaks of “Kings” coming from the East bearing gifts of gold and frankincense. However, for the record, the text in today’s gospel does not call them kings, but “magi.”

Yet, here is their key identity: they are Gentiles and they have been called. Up to this point in the Christmas story, only Jews had found their way to Bethlehem. But now the Gentiles come. This detail cannot be overlooked, for it is clear that the gospel is going out to all the world.

St. Paul rejoices in this fact in today’s second reading as he says: that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and co-partners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Eph 3:6). Most of us are not Jewish by ancestry, and hence we ought to rejoice for in the call of these Magi is prefigured our call.

And notice that God calls them through something in the natural world. In this case a star. God uses something in creation to call out to them.

We do well to wonder what is the star that God used to call us? Perhaps it was Scripture, but more usually, it is first someone God has used to reach us, a parent, a family member, a friend, a priest, religious sister, or devoted lay person. Who are the stars in your life by whom God called you?

God can also use inanimate creation like he did for these Magi. Perhaps it was a beautiful Church, a painting or a song. By someone or something God calls. He puts a star in our sky. These wise men, these Magi, follow the call of God and begin their journey to Jesus.

Stage 2. CONSTANCY - Upon their arrival in Jerusalem the Magi find a rather confusing and perhaps discouraging situation. The reigning King, Herod, knows nothing of the birth of this new King. It must have seemed probable to them that the newborn King would be related to the current King, so his surprise may have confused them. But Herod seems more than surprised, he seems threatened and agitated.

Even more puzzling, he calls religious leaders to further inform him of this King. They open the sacred writings and the Magi hear of a promised King. Ah! So the birth of this king has religious significance! How interesting!

But, these religious leaders seem unenthusiastic of the newborn King and after giving the location of his birth seem to make no effort to follow the Magi. There is no rejoicing, no summoning of the people that a longed for king had finally been born. Not even further inquiry!

So the wicked (e.g. Herod and his court), are wakeful,  and the saints are sleepy. How odd this must have seemed to the Magi. Perhaps it occurred to them to suspend their search. After all, the actual king knew nothing of this birth, and those who did, seemed little interested.

Ah, but praise the Lord they persevere in their search. They do not give up!

Thanks be to God too, that many today have found their way to Christ despite the fact that parents, clergy and others, who should have led them joyfully to Jesus, were either asleep, or ignorant or just plain lazy. I am often amazed at some of the conversion stories I have heard, people who found their way to Christ and his Church, despite some pretty discouraging obstacles like poor religious upbringing, scandalous clergy and bad example. God sometimes allows our faith and call to be tested but Those who persevere to the end will be saved (Matt 24:13).

Stage 3. CONFESSION OF FAITH – The text says, After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. – With what little information they have they set out and continue to follow the call of God through the star.

Note that they enter a “house.” We often think of the Magi as coming that same Christmas night to the cave or stable but it seems not. Mary (Joseph) and Jesus are found now in a house. It would seem that decent lodging has now been found. Has it been days since the birth? Perhaps even longer, but we are likely dealing with a different day than Christmas Day.

Notice too that they “prostrate” themselves before Jesus. The Greek word is προσεκύνησαν (prosekunēsan) which means more literally “to fall down in worship” or “give adoration.” The verb is used 12 times in the New Testament and it is clear each time that religious worship is the purpose of the prostration.

This is no mere homage or a sign of respect to an earthly King, this is religious worship. This is a confession of faith. So our Magi manifest faith!

But is it a real faith, or just a perfunctory observance? It’s not enough to answer an altar call, or to get baptized. Faith is never alone. It is a transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. So lets look for the effects of a real and saving faith.

Stage 4. COST - There is a cost to discipleship. The magi are moved to give three symbolic gifts that show some of what true faith includes. And they are costly gifts.

Gold is a symbol of all our possessions. In laying this gift before Jesus they and we are saying, “I acknowledge that everything I have is yours. I put all my resources and wealth under your authority and will use them only according to your will.” A conversion that has not reached the wallet is not complete.

Frankincense. is the gift of worship, for in the Bible incense is a symbol of prayer and worship (eg. psalm 141). In laying down this gift we promise to pray and worship God all the days of our life. To be in his holy house each Sunday and render him the praise and worship he is due. To listen to his word and to consent to be fed the Eucharist by him. To worship him worthily by frequent confession and to praise him at all times. And they give

Myrrh - a strange gift for an infant. Myrrh is usually understood as burial ointment. Surely this prefigures Jesus’ death but it also symbolizes our own. In laying this gift before Jesus we are saying, my life is yours. I want to die so that you may live your life in me. May you increase and may I decrease. Use me and my life as you will. So here are gifts that are highly symbolic.

The magi manifest more than a little homage to Jesus. They are showing forth the fruits of saving faith. And if we can give these gifts so too are we.

Stage 5. CONVERSION – The text says, And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.

Here then is essential evidence for faith: conversion. It is not enough to get happy in Church, we have to obey. Hence, these wise men are walking differently now. They are not going home by the same way they came. They’ve changed direction, they’ve turned around (conversio). They are now willing to walk the straight and narrow path that leads to life rather than the wide road that leads to damnation. They are going to obey Christ. They are going to exhibit what St. Paul calls the “obedience of faith” (Rom 1:5; 16:26). They have not just engaged in a possibly perfunctory worship, they are showing signs of a true and saving faith. They are not just calling Jesus “Lord, Lord!” They are doing what he tells them (cf Luke 6:46).

So there it is. Through careful stages the Lord has brought the Gentiles (this means you) to conversion. He called. They remained constant, confessed him to be Lord, accepted the cost of discipleship and manifested conversion. Have you? Have I?

Walk in the ways of the Wise men! Wise men still seek him. Even wiser ones listen to him and obey. Are we willing to go back to our country by another route? Is on-going conversion part of our journey home to heaven? If Epiphany means “manifestation” how is our faith manifest in our deeds and conversion?

I have it on the best of authority that as the wise men went home by another route they were singing a Gospel song: “It’s a highway to heaven! None can walk up there but the pure in heart. I walking up the King’s Highway. If you’re not walking start while I’m talking. There’ll be a blessing you’ll be possessing, walking up the King’s Highway. “

20 posted on 01/07/2012 9:06:26 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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