Creeks, rivers, and other forms of moving water, including ice, manifest the flow of life itself. A gurgling stream or rushing river, even in midwinter's rest, is the sign that new life is coming forth, even when it is not yet perceptible in a snow-covered landscape. Our life in Christ begins through the saving water of Baptism; since this is so, we have an obligation to protect and save the water. Water pollution is widespread, denying safe drinking water to millions of people.
JANUARY 1 SUNDAY/MARY, MOTHER OF GOD/NEW YEARS DAY
Sirach, Chapter 4, Verse 20
My son, watch for the right time; fear what is evil; do not bring shame upon yourself.
Shame is generally connected with sexual ungodliness. Leviticus which is the book of the law on holiness in chapter 18 lists every sort of sexual sin. Sex is good and was invented by God and carries no shame if it is done at the right time open to life between a husband and a wife.
Leviticus 18 begins with:
My decrees you shall carry out, and my statutes you shall take care to follow. I, the LORD, am your God. Keep, then, my statutes and decrees, for the person who carries them out will find life through them. I am the LORD.
None of you shall approach a close relative to have sexual intercourse. I am the LORD. (Lv. 18:4-6)
Leviticus 18 ends with:
You, however, must keep my statutes and decrees, avoiding all these abominations, both the natives and the aliens resident among you—because the previous inhabitants did all these abominations and the land became defiled; otherwise the land will vomit you out also for having defiled it, just as it vomited out the nations before you. For whoever does any of these abominations shall be cut off from the people. Heed my charge, then, not to observe the abominable customs that have been observed before your time, and thus become impure by them. I, the LORD, am your God. (Lv. 18:26-30)
1. Catechism of the Catholic Church
I. "MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM . . ."
2331 "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image. God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion. "God created man in his own image male and female he created them"; He blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply" "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created."
2332 Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
2333 Everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out.
2334 "In creating men 'male and female, God gives man and woman an equal personal dignity." "Man is a person, man and woman equally so, since both were created in the image and likeness of the personal God."
2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." All human generations proceed from this union.
2336 Jesus came to restore creation to the purity of its origins. In the Sermon on the Mount, he interprets God's plan strictly: "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." What God has joined together, let not man put asunder.
The tradition of the Church has understood the sixth commandment as encompassing the whole of human sexuality.
Solemnity of Mary
For Catholics, today is a holy day of obligation to honor Mary the Mother of God the second Eve: who is the first example of courage. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. (Luke 1:30-31)
May God bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
On my 2006 visit to Israel my wife and I visited and had Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes. I remember our Priests were a little miffed with the little sister who worked there. She was upset with us because it was a warm day and some in our group had taken off their sweaters and their arms were exposed. She was focused on the rules, as Christ pointed out to the Pharisees who were focused on the outside of the cup being clean rather than the inside being clean. Similarly the beatitudes of our Lord seek to not do away with the rules (10 commandments) but points at our inner dispositions. I think Church of the Beatitudes which is an octagon (eight sided) best represents how me should seek to best conform our hearts and our dispositions to be more like that of Christ. On the floor of the Church of the Beatitudes are eight mosaics with words in Latin. They reflect the dispositions of our Lord which we are to emulate.
Charitas (a heart that burns with love of God and benevolence toward others)
Prvdentia (forethought or prudence. Those who are Prudent are far from indecisive, for their bold decisions bear no streaks of doubt. Prudence disposes us to have a true care and concern for the health and wellbeing of others)
Lavs Tibi Christi (Praise God in all that we do)
Temperantia (Temperance is a spirit of moderation and personal restraint; to keep ourselves in balance physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally)
Fides (Faith in God; to trust Him; to give yourself as He gave Himself)
Fortitvdo (fortitude and courage. We must have the courage to allow Christ to increase in us)
Spes (Hope. We must hope in the good news of Christ and trust ourselves in the church as we would a ship upon the waters)
Ivstitia (Justice. Christ compels us to not ignore others, to understand others, not to rationalize and/or justify our questionable acts, do right even at risk of ourselves, and to pray for others.
Read: We close out the Christmas octave—the eight days following the birth of Christ—with a day honoring Mary as the Mother of God. Take time to read about the Mother of God today.
Reflect: January 1 is also the World Day of Peace. In his World Day of Peace Message for 2017, Pope Francis said:
"On this occasion, I would like to reflect on nonviolence as a style of politics for peace. I ask God to help all of us to cultivate nonviolence in our most personal thoughts and values. May charity and nonviolence govern how we treat each other as individuals, within society and in international life. When victims of violence are able to resist the temptation to retaliate, they become the most credible promotors of nonviolent peacemaking. In the most local and ordinary situations and in the international order, may nonviolence become the hallmark of our decisions, our relationships and our actions, and indeed of political life in all its forms."
Pray: There are a number of prayers for peace to choose from—pray one today.
Act: Visit the US Catholic bishops' Action Center. . . today to find out ways you can advocate for peace around the world.
Today is the 8th day of Christmas in The Twelve Days of Christmas. Legend has it the song was a lesson for Catholic’s persecuted in protestant England. The eight Maids a milking are a sign for the eight beatitudes. Today would be a good day to reflect on them.
New Year's Day
New Year's Day marks the start of a new year on the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar was first introduced by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 and began to be used in Britain and its colonies in 1751. It is a solar calendar which maintains synchrony with the tropical year. This holiday is celebrated every year on January 1st.
New Year's Day Facts
· Baby New Year is the most common symbol associated with this holiday. He is a toddler dressed in a diaper, hat, and sash bearing the numbers of the New Year. The myth states that he matures into an old man during the course of the year. On December 31st, he hands his hat and sash to the new Baby New Year.
· In early Roman calendar New Year was celebrated on March 1st. The new celebration of New Year on January 1st started in Rome in 153 BC. The New Year was moved to January because it was a month when two newly elected Roman consuls began their tenure, which reflected the beginning of civil year.
· In medieval Europe celebrations of New Year on January 1st were not always observed. Sometimes it was celebrated on Dec. 25th, March 1st and March 25th (The Feast of the Annunciation).
· Gregorian calendar came into force in 1582, which replaced the Julian calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII. After adoption of Gregorian calendar, January 1st was restored as New Year’s Day.
· All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. - Walt Disney
New Year's Day Top Events and Things to Do
· Visit Times Square and watch the ball drop in New York City to celebrate the New Year.
· Sing Auld Lang Sine and kiss a loved one at the stroke of midnight.
· Make new resolutions for the upcoming year and let go of what happened in the previous one.
· Take advantage of New Year's Eve skiing at a local ski hill near you. Usually the hills are less crowded and offer discounts on this holiday.
· New Year – means new trails to hike. Go hiking on a New Year’s Day to make a good start from day one and get motivated.
Full Wolf Moon
According to the almanac today we are having a Full Wolf Moon; plan to get with your children or grandchildren around a fire and howl a little at the moon having fun together. Also you could sit down together and listen to the music from Peter and the Wolf. As a child this was one of my favorite record albums that I would make my mother play over and over again much to her distress.
49 Godly Character Traits
During this Christmas 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:
Persuasiveness vs. Contentiousness
Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks (II Timothy 2:24)
373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of "subduing" the earth as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator "who loves everything that exists", to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.
394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls "a murderer from the beginning", who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil." In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.
· Novena to the Holy Face Day 6
· Please pray for me and this ministry