First Sunday after Epiphany
Isaiah, Chapter 40, verse 9:
9 Go up onto a high mountain, Zion, herald of good news! Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Cry out, do not FEAR! Say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God!
It has been said that singing is praying twice.
The season is all about recognizing that our God has come as a gentle child on Christmas day and his delight is in us. One of my favorite representations of the Lord’s delight with us is a statue of Joseph and the baby Jesus. Jesus and Joseph are playing. Joseph is slightly bent with the baby Jesus giggling crawling over the back of Joseph and peeking over his shoulder looking at his face in peek a boo fashion and delight is all over both of their faces. How can we fear when we have a God who loves us so! In times of tribulation when we feel courage being drained from our souls let us remember the courage of blessed Saint Joseph reflecting on his courage, strength and of course gentleness with our Lord Jesus. In times of trouble let us call on the aid of St. Joseph reflecting on this portion of the litany of Saint Joseph.
”St. Joseph, Renowned offspring of David, Light of Patriarchs, Spouse of the Mother of God, Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Foster father of the Son of God, Diligent protector of Christ, Head of the Holy Family, Joseph most just, Joseph most chaste, Joseph most prudent, Joseph most strong, Joseph most obedient, Joseph most faithful, Mirror of patience, Lover of poverty, Model of artisans, Glory of home life, Guardian of virgins, Pillar of families, Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick, Patron of the dying, Terror of demons, Protector of Holy Church. Pray for Us!”
ON KEEPING THE LORD'S DAY HOLY
The "full joy" of Christ
55. "Blessed be he who has raised the great day of Sunday above all other days. The heavens and the earth, angels and of men give themselves over to joy". This cry of the Maronite liturgy captures well the intense acclamations of joy which have always characterized Sunday in the liturgy of both East and West. Moreover, historically — even before it was seen as a day of rest, which in any case was not provided for in the civil calendar — Christians celebrated the weekly day of the Risen Lord primarily as a day of joy. "On the first day of the week, you shall all rejoice", urges the Didascalia. This was also emphasized by liturgical practice, through the choice of appropriate gestures. Voicing an awareness widespread in the Church, Saint Augustine describes the joy of the weekly Easter: "Fasting, is set aside and prayers are said standing, as a sign of the Resurrection, which is also why the Alleluia is sung on every Sunday".
First Sunday after Epiphany
AT the Introit of the Mass the Church animates us to adore and obey God willingly and joyfully. “Upon a high throne I saw a man sitting, Whom a multitude of angels adored, singing together, Behold Him, the name of Whose empire is eternity” (Dan. vii.). “Sing joyfully to God, all the earth: serve the Lord with gladness” (Ps. xcix. 2).
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, in Thy heavenly mercy, the prayers of Thy suppliant people, that they may both see what they ought to do and may be enabled to do what they see.
EPISTLE. Rom. xii. 1-5.
Brethren: I beseech you, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world but be reformed in the newness of your mind: that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoveth to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided to everyone the measure of faith. For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same office: so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another in Christ Jesus our Lord.
can we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?
By keeping the body and its members clean from all sin, serving God with soul and body. Thus, to serve God, with our soul and body, is our reasonable service, and the vocation of every Christian.
does St. Paul mean by the comparison of one body and many members?
He means that we Christians belong all to one body, the Church, the head of which is Christ. Now, as all the members of the body work for its welfare, so should every Christian minister to the wants of all in the Church. One should join the other in the work of salvation; should instruct or punish, warn, admonish, or correct, as there is occasion for it. This is true love, such as we ought to have, one for another, and happy are we when we thus love in word and deed.
Grant, O Jesus, that I may present my soul and body a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing, to Thee, by mortification, humiliation, and contrition, and that I may never defile them by impurity, gluttony, lust, vanity, or pride; give me also Thy grace, O my Savior, to love my neighbor as myself, for we are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another.
GOSPEL. Luke ii. 42-52.
When Jesus was twelve years old, they going up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast, and having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, and His parents knew it not. And thinking that He was in the company, they came a day’s journey, and sought Him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem seeking Him. And it came to pass that after three days they found Him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His wisdom and His answers. And seeing Him, they wondered. And His Mother said to Him: Son, why hast Thou done so to us? behold Thy father and I have sought Thee sorrowing. And He said to them: How is it that you sought Me? did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business? And they understood not the word that He spoke unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth; and was subject to them. And His Mother kept all these words in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, and grace with God and men.
What are we Christians to learn by this?
That we should never miss an opportunity to go to church, particularly on Sundays and holy-days, and there assist at the public services, with inward and outward devotion. Parents should learn from Joseph and Mary to take their children to church and school, and to teach them their prayers and the other exercises of religion.
What lesson does the infant Jesus teach us?
That we also should attend religious instructions, the sermon, and catechism, to learn what is necessary in regard to our salvation.
What do we learn by those words, “Jesus was subject to them”?
That children should obey their parents. When the God Man was thus subject to His poor Mother and to His foster father, who was a plain mechanic, those children should blush who are ashamed of their parents, or refuse to assist them in their old age, poverty, or distress.
Baptism of Jesus A closing celebration of Christ's initial manifestations to the world through His life and early ministry, especially in His baptism by St. John.
"Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near" (Is 55, 6).
These words from the second part of the Book of Isaiah ring out on this Sunday that ends the Christmas season. They are an invitation to go more deeply into the meaning for us of today's Feast, the Baptism of the Lord. In spirit let us return to the banks of the Jordan where John the Baptist administered a Baptism of repentance, exhorting to conversion. Coming up to the Precursor is Jesus, and with his presence he transformed that gesture of repentance into a solemn manifestation of his divinity. A voice suddenly comes from heaven: "You are my beloved Son; in you I am well pleased" (Mk 1, 11) and, in the form of a dove, the Spirit descends upon Jesus. In that extraordinary event, John saw realized what had been said about the Messiah born in Bethlehem, adored by the shepherds and the Magi. He was the very One foretold by the prophets, the beloved Son of the Father; we must seek him while he can be found and call upon him while he is at hand. In Baptism every Christian personally meets him; he is inserted into the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection and receives a new life, which is the life of God. What a great gift and what a great responsibility!
Blessing of Water
The commemoration of our Lord's Baptism in the Jordan led to a number of impressive blessings concerning water. In Palestine, the river Jordan itself was blessed, with throngs of the faithful immersing in it three times to obtain the blessing, while in Egypt, the whole Christian population and its livestock would show up for the blessing of the Nile and do the same thing. In Byzantium, Epiphany water was blessed in church and then distributed. Rome followed this custom, instituting it on the Vigil of the feast. The formula for the blessing may be found in the Roman ritual.
Renewal of Baptismal Vows
Dear brethren, through the Paschal Mystery we have been buried with Christ in Baptism, that we may walk with him in newness of life. And so, let us renew the promises of Holy Baptism, which we once renounced Satan and his works and promised to serve God in the holy Catholic Church.
And so, I ask you:
Do you renounce Satan?
R. I do.
And all his works?
R. I do.
And all his empty show?
R. I do.
Christmas - Day Sixteen
St. Francis initiated the beautiful practice of displaying a Christmas crib or creche. He built it in a cave on a bleak mountain near the village of Greccio. News of what he was doing spread all over the countryside and a steady stream of men, women and children came by night carrying torches and candles to light their way. "It seemed like midday," wrote someone who was there, "during that midnight filled with gladness for man and beast, and the crowds drawing near, so happy to be present for the renewal of the eternal mystery." Francis himself sang the Gospel story in a voice which was "strong and sweet and clear," says the observer. "Then he preached to the people, most movingly, about the birth of the poor King in little Bethlehem." — Excerpted from Christmas
· Day Sixteen activity (St. Francis and the Creche)
· Day Sixteen recipe (Double Chocolate Mocha Biscotti)
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day was created to celebrate police officers. It's a day to thank them for the public service they provide and to show support. It is also a time to commemorate the officers that have died in the line of duty.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Facts
- As of 2018, there are over 900,000 sworn police officers serving in the United States. Approximately 12% are female.
- According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), for the ten-year period of 2008-2017, the main cause of death of police officers was gunshots. The second one was auto crashes. 1511 police officers died in the line of duty during said period.
- The Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor is the highest honor that can be awarded to a public safety officer in the United States. The awardees are posted here.
Law Enforcement Appreciation Day Top Events and Things to Do
- In 1989, during the holiday season, Dolly Craig put two blue candles in her living room window. The purpose was to commemorate her son-in-law, Daniel Gleason, who died in the line of duty, and her daughter, Daniel's wife, who died in a car accident in 1989. The idea was adopted by C.O.P.S (Concerns of Police Survivors) under the name Project Blue Light. You can take part by placing a blue light on your window during the holiday season to commemorate fallen officers.
- Watch a police movie. From infiltration films like Donnie Brasco (1997) and The Departed (2006), to detective films like Se7en (1995) and comedies like Hot Fuzz (2007).
- Wear blue.
- If you see a law enforcement officer, thank them for their service.
- If you have a positive story involving law enforcement, share it on social media.
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after 6 pm Saturday till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
 HOMILY OF JOHN PAUL II, Sistine Chapel, Sunday, 12 January 2003