Matthew, Chapter 17, Verse 5
While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”
Christmas is ultimately about faithfulness. The faithfulness we celebrate is not ours but God’s. Despite Adam and Eve’s bad choice in the garden of Eden, Cain’s murder of his brother Abel, and the sins of Noah’s generation, God did not forget. Even, though mankind sinned greatly at Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jacob’s sons against Joseph when they sold him into slavery, God remembered. After the Exodus, the Jews grumbled against Moses over the forty years he led them through the desert. Under the Judges, Israel thought not of God but only longed for a King. Though Saul became filled with his power and even the beloved David strayed from God’s law, the Lord God renewed his oath to David and his descendants. Though eventually both kingdoms of Israel would betray God, live for themselves and worship the idols of foreigners, God remained true. While many forgot Him in their exile, and after their return took up the ways of their neighbors, God remembered what he had uttered to Adam and Eve. While the Maccabees and their descendants (including Herod) tried to raise up a new nation of Israel that thought only of power and independence, God did not forget. On a cold night in Bethlehem, through a young virgin aided by her courageous spouse, a child was born. The Word of God himself took on our flesh. In that moment God kept his promises to all generations who had come before the child, and all who would come after. God would redeem mankind from its sins. Once again man would be given the possibility to live according to God’s plan. Human beings would know their true dignity. In human life the Spirit of God would dwell anew. Christmas is ultimately about faithfulness, because it is about love. Though we turned away from God as a people, he never stopped loving us nor did his love for us ever despair. Because he has loved us in his Son, we can love Him and one another. As we prepare for this Christmas night, let us embrace faithfulness born of God’s love. Let us be faithful to our families and spouses, true friends. May we always honor the Word of God who has come to dwell in us. Let us never dishonor this child by lies, or jealousy, anger, or greed. Let us pray to be faithful as God has been faithful to us. Then may we know the truth of Christmas night: Peace, Joy, Hope and Love.
The Law of Love
Our Lord Jesus himself clearly taught us the first principles of Catholic morality: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22:37-40) Love, or charity, is the great commandment of the Lord. Love of God and love of neighbor are the source & summary of Catholic morality. “All the law and the prophets” flow from this starting point. This means that what love requires is the essence of all moral rules, all of the Ten Commandments, and all aspects of morality spoken of by the prophets and even by Christ himself. The only things needed are those things which love makes necessary. It is also important to say that love does, indeed, require many things! In fact, it takes only a few simple steps of logic to deduce the Ten Commandments and most of the rest of Catholic morality from this starting point. Those moral precepts describe the minimum that love requires.
“What do you mean the minimum?”
Catholic morality’s basic moral code describes the minimum necessary to live in union with Christ. If we fall below that level, then the life of Christ cannot live within us. That’s the meaning of mortal sin: an action which shows God that we refuse his offer to become “children of God” (John 1:12) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). So if that’s the minimum, then what’s the maximum that love requires? Again, Jesus provides the answer: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) The maximum, then, is to completely give ourselves for others, even as Christ did for us. To put it more simply: there is no maximum! We’ll always find that we can give more.
Love demands we care about human rights but we must begin with the protection of the unborn.
Human Rights Day
Human Rights Day commemorates the day on which the United Nations issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a document drafted by representatives from all regions of the world, which outlined fundamental human rights to be universally protected. The Declaration contains 30 articles that touch on rights to freedom, justice, peace, dignity, education and health care, amongst other rights. On December 10, 1948, the United Nations proclaimed the UDHR in an effort to help define equal rights that all humans on the planet deserve and can help the world achieve lasting freedom, justice and peace. Human Rights Day was officially declared by the United Nations in 1950. It is celebrated on December 10th each year and is marked by speeches and activities designed to bring attention to the issues surrounding the most pressing Human Rights issues worldwide.
Human Rights Day Facts & Quotes
· The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights was one of their first declarations and came about after the atrocities perpetrated upon humans during World War II were brought to light.
· Over the past decade, armed conflict has killed 2 million children, disabled another 4-5 million, left 12 million homeless and orphaned another million.
Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.- Abraham Lincoln
America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense... human rights invented America.- Jimmy Carter
I have cherished the ideal a democratic and free society... it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.- Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa, who was imprisoned from 1964-1990.
Human Rights Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Educate yourself on current human rights fights such as genocide by terrorist groups, slavery and trafficking and child labor around the world.
· Get involved with a local human rights organization.
· Hold a candlelight vigil for those who have had their human rights violated.
· Watch a documentary about human rights issues and violations. Some recommendations: Invisible Children (2006), Girl Rising(2013) and Nefarious (2011).
· Attend an Amnesty International Human Rights Event near you to support the battle to uphold human rights throughout the world.
The U.S. is not the only country to recognize the importance of religious liberty. The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights--a foundational document for international law, created by representatives from all over the world--recognizes this basic human right in Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance”. Clearly, the framers of this document relied on human reason and saw the need for governments to recognize this civil right.
 Fouth Sunday of Advent weekly message, Rev Kieran Kieczewski