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Saturday In the Octave of Easter Isaiah, Chapter 51, verse 12-13 12 I, it is I who comfort you. Can you then fear mortals who d...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Monday, December 25, 2017

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 descendants 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 in life but when you come into my presence at Mass, you receive my body, become a new creation in union with us (the trinity) physically, mentally, spiritually and communally. 


The Three Feasts of the Nativity[1]

When we celebrate Christmas we are commemorating the three nativities of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the reason for the three Masses celebrated on this day. The first is the eternal begetting of God the Son from all eternity within the mystery of the Blessed Trinity by the Father, “You are My Son. Today I have begotten You.”


This first nativity was before the seven days of Creation, when everything was darkness. This is why the first Mass is at midnight to recall the darkness that prevailed during that first eternal birth of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. The first nativity reminds us of the Spirit of poverty, the Spirit that tells us that all the things God created is His, to be used for His glory and not for man’s enjoyment. Even man was to use himself for the glory of God. This represents the six days of creation. If Adam, being the head of creation, had observed the spirit of poverty and used all of creation for the glory of God, then he would have entered into the Sabbath, God’s rest… i.e. eternal happiness. But Adam messed up everything. And the consequence: the whole of mankind could not enter God’s rest.

The second nativity, or birth, of the Second Person of the Trinity is commemorated on Christmas day when He became man, born of the Virgin Mary, in Bethlehem. For the world, the darkness was beginning to be dispelled. This is why the second Mass is celebrated at dawn when the dawn is beginning to dispel the darkness. The second nativity reminds us of the Spirit of chastity. That Spirit reminds us to give up all physical comforts, pleasure and conveniences. And Christ in the manger is a clear example of this. It is a continuous reminder that true happiness can only be found in God and that we are on earth to seek God. All the rest will come with that find. True rest can only be found in God.

The third nativity of Christ is when He is born in our souls, through His in-dwelling, when man, through grace, becomes enlightened. Thus the third Mass is celebrated during the day when the sun is bright. For man is truly enlightened when he has Christ in his soul. The third nativity reminds us of the Spirit of obedience. It is only when we can say, “Not my will but Your will be done,” can Christ be born in our souls. The apostolic commission at the end of St. Matthew’s Gospel reiterates this, reminding us of the role of the Church and the men of the Church: “… teach all My commands and how to observe them.”

Christmas reminds us of one lesson. Christ was born to die. For us the message is clear. We are born to die to oneself. And to die to oneself means reaching a point in our lives when we no longer do our own will but the will of the Father in heaven. This is to lose one’s life in order to find it. If we have learned the lessons of the first nativity, if we have learned the lesson of the second nativity, our reward is the third nativity, when Christ is born in our souls….indeed our eternal Christmas. This is truly a Merry Christmas.



[1]Excerpted from Fr. Odon de Castro, Bo. San Isidro, Magalang, Pampanga, Philippines



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.
49 Godly Character Traits[2]

During this Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:

Justice vs. Fairness

Personal responsibility to God’s unchanging laws (Micah 6:8)

·         1807 Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor. Justice toward God is called the "virtue of religion." Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good. The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures, is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbor. "You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor." "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven."
·         1836 Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give God and neighbor their due.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         30 Days with St. Joe
·         Please pray for me and this ministry




[2]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/ 

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