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2 Maccabees, Chapter 9, Verse 29 His foster brother Philip brought the body home; but fearing Antiochus’ son, he later withdrew i...

Friday, December 23, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016 Christmas Day

Luke, Chapter 1, verse 9:
9 The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

In this verse the “them” were shepherds. The angels appeared and filled lowly shepherds with holy fear. Shepherds were the gypsy’s of their time. They were in the same social class as dung sweepers and tax collectors. 

As you open your “presents” today remember these scum bag shepherds needed to be in His “presence”. To do that was not an easy task; they had to move with all of their sheep to the place of the Kings birth. Can you imagine the scene with hundreds, perhaps millions of sheep, bleating as they go and eating everything along the way? It took great courage to do this to bring unlawfully out of the desert these sheep and to honor the King. Imagine their surprise to see the messiah, the king of kings, in a nasty cave used to stable animals, lying in a manger. (A manger is basically a feed troth for animals.)

The shepherds still worship Him today through their decedents who now make up the 1 percent of Christians in the Holy Land. Their faith has lasted down through the ages. In 2006 my wife and I visited a small Catholic community in Bethlehem which is in Palestinian held territory. We were told the faith was passed down from father to son in face of many hardships. They endured 600 years with no priests and Muslim oppression. They are oppressed to this day yet they endure.

While in Bethlehem, I was able to touch the spot where Christ was born and while in Jerusalem I was able to touch the spots where Christ was crucified and rose into heaven. To have done this I thought was a very special experience but then the Lord touched my heart and whispered these are just the spots I touched come into my presence at Mass, receive my body, become a new creation in union with us (the trinity) physically, mentally, spiritually and communally. 

The Christmas Carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas"[1]

The singing of hymns and carols, even in an age which has lost the ability to sing, remains a fixed and cherished part of Christmas. Unfortunately, we cannot adequately examine the vast history or catalog of Christmas songs. Instead, we will focus on one famous but misunderstood Christmas carol. Most holiday revelers do not realize that the popular carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," is actually a hidden catechism for Catholics. From 1558 to 1829 the Catholic Church was persecuted in England, making the transmission of the faith from one generation to the next exceedingly difficult. One solution was to veil the basic tenets of the faith in the symbols of a song. If caught, a Catholic could claim that it was merely an innocuous ditty, or even, if pushed, a Protestant catechism (since most of the song's teachings were also shared by the Reformers).
Here are the verses of the song, followed by its meaning:

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping, ten lords-a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids-a-milking, seven swans-a-swimming, six geese-a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

The Carol's Meaning

·         My true love = God
·         Me = every baptized person, the Church
·         A Partridge in a pear tree = The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ (The portrayal of Christ as a mother partridge is inspired by his lament: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."). The pear tree signifies the wood of the manger (and also of the cross), while the fruit reminds us of the reason for the Incarnation: God's desire to save us from the sin introduced by Adam's and Eve's consumption of the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil. The fruit also reminds us of the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden.




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