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Sunday, December 10, 2017

2ND SUNDAY OF ADVENT-human rights day

1 Samuel, Chapter 3, Verse 15-16
15 Samuel then slept until morning, when he got up early and opened the doors of the temple of the LORD. He was afraid to tell Eli the vision, 16 but Eli called to him, “Samuel, my son!” He replied, “Here I am.”

One night, while Samuel gently slumbers, he hears a voice calling his name. Rising from his bed, Samuel goes to see Eli asking if he was called. Eli, doing no such thing, sends him back to bed. Later that night, Samuel hears his name again and returns to Eli. Again, Eli sends him packing off to bed. As Samuel dozes again, he hears his name being called. Eli, now tells Samuel to answer back because it's God calling his name (1-9). God relays the misery that will plague Eli's house. In the morning, Samuel hesitates to tell Eli the news because seriously, who wants to be the messenger of "your whole family is going to die!"? After some prompting, Samuel spills the beans, but Eli simply says God's will is not for anyone to change. Eli has nerves of steel (before steel was invented). After this, Samuel is decreed a true prophet of God (10-21).[1]

Sometimes being faithful may be hard; it may be very hard. 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. 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 ac-cording 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. Be-cause 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.[2]

It is wonderful to know that we do not have to be perfect-or even very lovely-to be loved!

Christmas Calendar[3]

·         Read: In the Gospel today, John the Baptist tells us to prepare the way of the Lord. He is talking not about the baby in the manger but about the adult Christ soon to begin his public ministry. Take time to read commentary about the prayers and readings for the Second Sunday of Advent.
·         Reflect: Take a few minutes to reflect on today's readings by practicing the ancient art of Lectio Divina.
·         Pray: Churches around the nation held a special collection for retired religious today. Pray for these dedicated servants of Christ.
·         Act: Light the second violet candle on your Advent wreath today.

Second Sunday of Advent[4]

The voices of Isaiah and John the Baptist tell us to prepare.
“As the journey of Advent continues, as we prepare to celebrate the nativity of Christ, John the Baptist's calls us to conversion and sounds out in our communities. It is a pressing invitation to open our hearts and to welcome the Son of God Who comes among us to make divine judgement manifest. The Father, writes St. John the Evangelist, does not judge anyone, but has entrusted the power of judgement to the Son, because He is the Son of man. “And it is today, in the present, that we decide our future destiny. It is with our concrete everyday behavior in this life that we determine our eternal fate. At the end of our days on earth, at the moment of death, we will be evaluated on the basis of our likeness or otherwise to the Baby Who is about to be born in the poor grotto of Bethlehem, because He is the measure God has given humanity. “Through the Gospel John the Baptist continues to speak down the centuries to each generation. His hard clear words bring health to us, the men and women of this day in which even the experience and perception of Christmas often, unfortunately, reflects materialist attitudes. The 'voice' of the great prophet asks us to prepare the way for the coming Lord in the deserts of today, internal and external deserts, thirsting for the water of life which is Christ.” — Benedict XVI
Consolation in Adversities and Afflictions[5]

What can and should console us in adversity?

1. A firm belief that everything is ordered by God’s wise providence, and that no evil can befall us except by His permission, Who never allows us to suffer more than is for our good.

2. That if we call upon Him in adversity God will help us, whenever it is expedient for our salvation. Thus to encourage us He says, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee” (Ps. xlix. 15); and, “If God be for us, who is against us?” (Rom. viii. 31); and “Can a woman forget her infant so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee: behold, I have graven thee in My hands” (Isaias xlix. 15, 16).

3. That it is useless to resist Divine Providence, for all who have done so have been filled with shame and ignominy, “Who hath resisted Him and hath had peace?” (Job ix. 4.)

4. That our sufferings when borne with patience and submission lose their sharpness, and bring us merit and reward. “For that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation, worketh for us, above measure exceedingly, an eternal weight of glory” (n. Cor. iv.17).

Human Rights Day[6]

 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.
·         Watch a documentary about human rights issues and violations. Some recommendations: Invisible Children (2006), Girl Rising (2013) and Nefarious (2011).
·         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.[7]

49 Godly Character Traits[8]

As we begin the 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:

Diligence vs. Slothfulness

Visualizing each task as a special assignment from the Lord and using all my energies to accomplish it (Colossians 3:23)

1866 Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose, or also be linked to the capital sins which Christian experience has distinguished, following St. John Cassian and St. Gregory the Great. They are called "capital" because they engender other sins, other vices. They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia.

2339 Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. "Man's dignity therefore requires him to act out of conscious and free choice, as moved and drawn in a personal way from within, and not by blind impulses in himself or by mere external constraint. Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward to his goal by freely choosing what is good and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end."

2094 One can sin against God's love in various ways:
·         Indifference neglects or refuses to reflect on divine charity; it fails to consider its prevenient goodness and denies its power.
·         Ingratitude fails or refuses to acknowledge divine charity and to return him love for love.
·         Lukewarmness is hesitation or negligence in responding to divine love; it can imply refusal to give oneself over to the prompting of charity.
·         Acedia or spiritual sloth goes so far as to refuse the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness.
·         Hatred of God comes from pride. It is contrary to love of God, whose goodness it denies, and whom it presumes to curse as the one who forbids sins and inflicts punishments.

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

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