Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 12-13-15, Third Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday) ^ | 12-13-15 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 12/12/2015 7:32:54 PM PST by Salvation

click here to read article

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-52 next last
To: All

December 2015

Pope's Intentions

Universal: Experiencing God's mercy, That all may experience the mercy of God, who never tires of forgiving.

Evangelization: Families, That families, especially those who suffer, may find in the birth of Jesus a sign of certain hope.

21 posted on 12/12/2015 8:08:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: All
Daily Gospel Commentary

Third Sunday of Advent - Year C
Commentary of the day
Origen (c.185-253), priest and theologian
Homilies on Saint Luke's Gospel, 26, 3-5; SC 87 (Friends of Henry Ashworth alt.)

His winnowing fan is in his hand

The baptism that Jesus gives is a baptism "in the Holy Spirit and in fire" If you are holy, you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit; if you are a sinner, you will be immersed in fire. The same baptism will become condemnation and fire to unworthy sinners, but the saints, those who convert to the Lord with wholehearted faith, will receive the grace of the Holy Spirit and salvation.

He who is portrayed as baptizing in the Holy Spirit and in fire holds a winnowing fan in his hand, which he will use to clear his threshing floor. The wheat he will gather into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with fire that can never be quenched. I should like to discover our Lord's reason for holding a winnowing fan and to inquire into the nature of the wind that scatters the light chaff here and there, leaving the heavier grain lying in a heap -- for you must have a wind it you want to separate wheat and chaff.

I suggest that the faithful are like a heap of unsifted grain, and that the wind represents the temptations which assail them and show up the wheat and the chaff among them. When your soul is overcome by some temptation, it is not the temptation that turns you into chaff. No, you were chaff already, that is to say fickle and faithless; the temptation simply discloses the stuff you are made of. On the other hand, when you endure temptations bravely it is not the temptation that makes you faithful and patient; temptation merely brings to light the hidden virtues of patience and fortitude that have been present in you all along. "I humbled you and made you feel the pangs of hunger in order to find out what was in your heart" (Dt 8,2).

22 posted on 12/12/2015 8:18:56 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: All
Arlington Catholic Herald

'What should we do?'
Fr. Robert J. Wagner

During this time of the year, many of us find ourselves welcoming family and friends into our homes, and thus are familiar with the practice of "tidying up." This includes tasks like putting the toys and books that may be lying around back in their place, running the vacuum over the carpet one more time and a number of other things to make our homes more attractive.

Why do we do this? On a superficial level, we want to give a good impression of ourselves and the way we keep our homes. On a more charitable level, we want those who enter our home to have a good experience and to know that we value their presence so much that we go out of our way to be sure the house is clean, ordered and beautifully decorated. If we keep this charitable mindset that allows us to see that we are offering something good to someone that we value, our cleaning becomes less tedious and more joyful.

In these first weeks of Advent, we have heard of the coming of the Messiah, mostly focused on the second coming. John the Baptist tells his followers, "One mightier than I is coming. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." With these words, the Baptist describes the power and authority of Jesus Christ, who will come to judge the living and the dead. As we can imagine, this adds a sense of urgency to those who are listening. Someone important is coming. They need to tidy up.

But how? This question is on their mind, and we hear different groups ask the Baptist, "What should we do?" How did they prepare for the Messiah? How can we prepare?

John the Baptist's responses to his disciples 2,000 years ago still are relevant today. His first command to prepare for the Lord is to serve those in need: "Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise." In serving the needy by sharing what we have, we both recognize the dignity of the other and acknowledge that we ourselves are blessed to have what we do. The divine source of both human dignity and human blessing is the same. To prepare our hearts for the coming of God, then, we must be both generous and thankful.

The second way to prepare for the Messiah is a conversion of our lives from sin. John the Baptist tells the tax collectors to stop stealing and the soldiers to stop extorting and lying. When we are engaged in sinful behavior, we cannot give our hearts fully to God, and thus when the Messiah comes, He will find that we are unfit to welcome Him. With God’s help and our will, we must root out all that is not godly in our lives.

We can add a third way of preparation to these as well: the sacraments. John baptized with water, but the One who followed him baptized with "the Holy Spirit and fire." This is a reference to the sacrament of baptism, which frees us from sin, brings the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and makes us children of God. It is also the sacrament that prepares us to receive the other sacraments of the church. As we encounter Jesus Christ in each sacrament, welcoming Him into our lives, we must remember to always be prepared. In particular, as Advent is a time of preparation, let us take this time to tidy up with a thorough examination of conscience followed by a sincere confession of our sins to a priest.

Like tidying up the home, these preparations may seem like a lot of work. We must remember, however, that when we focus on the honored guest who is to come, even the most difficult task becomes one of enjoyment. As we prepare for the coming of the Lord this Advent season, let our hearts be filled with joy.

Fr. Wagner is Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde's secretary.

23 posted on 12/12/2015 8:35:24 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: All
The Work of God

Year C

 -  Third Sunday of Advent

He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and Fire.

Luke 3:10-18

10 And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do?
11 And he answering, said to them: He that has two coats, let him give to him that has none; and he that has meat, let him do in like manner.
12 And the publicans also came to be baptised, and said to him: Master, what shall we do?
13 But he said to them: Do nothing more than that which is appointed you.
14 And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; do not calumniate any man, and be content with your pay.
15 And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ;
16 John answered, saying to them: I indeed baptise you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.
18 And many other things exhorting, did he preach to the people.

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"Third Sunday of Advent - He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and Fire." The privilege of the prophets is to make people open their hearts to the word of God. I touch the heart that is open awaiting my coming, in the same way that the sun touches with its stimulating rays, warmth and life the flower that opens before his presence.

The word of God must be transmitted by human beings, since God has revealed it to his prophets. Because this is divine word, it carries the anointment of the Holy Spirit and the power to touch the heart.

The objective of the Divine Word is to change the erroneous ideologies that impede the closeness to God; this is why it is revealed first to the prophets, who have left their testimony in the Holy Scriptures. I have come to perfect the testimony of the prophets with my own words contained in the Gospels.

The Holy Spirit has come also to give His Testimony, in order to ratify the Testimony of God the Father through the prophets, my Testimony as the Incarnate Word of God, and to establish this Word in every heart. If today you hear the Word of God, harden not your heart.

The Testimony of the Holy Spirit is that fire of faith that burns in the heart, moving the soul to live according to the Holy Word of God. For this reason, the Spirit is that force that moves the soul to listen, it is the same Power of God in action, changing and purifying with the Divine Wisdom.

Happy and blessed are those who take my words to their hearts and decide to live by them, their way is full of my light, their journey receives my support, their works are sanctified by their trust in me and their testimonies are an echo to my Word.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary

24 posted on 12/12/2015 8:44:41 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Salvation




 Patron Saint of the Blind

25 posted on 12/12/2015 9:05:58 PM PST by Coleus (For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Five Steps to Better Mental Health – A Homily for the Third Sunday of Advent

December 12, 2015

In modern times, we tend to link our notions of happiness and inner well-being to external circumstances and happenstance. And so we think that happiness will be found when the things of this world are arranged in the way we like. If we can just get enough money and creature comforts, we think we'll be happy and have a better sense of mental well-being.

Yet many people can endure difficult external circumstances while remaining inwardly content, happy, and optimistic. Further, many who have much are still not content and are plagued by great mental anguish, anxiety, and unhappiness. Ultimately, happiness is not about happenstance or circumstances; it is an "inside job."

St. Paul wrote,

For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Phil 4:11-12).

It is interesting to note that Paul wrote these words, as well as those of today's second reading, from his jail cell! So it's not a bunch of slogans.

In today's second reading, Paul tells us the "secret" to his contentedness, to joy and mental well-being regardless of the circumstances. He gives us a plan that (if we work it) will set the stage for a deeper inner peace, a sense of mental well-being and contentedness that is not easily affected by external circumstances. Let's review what St. Paul has to say as a kind of “five-point plan.” (I am indebted to Rev. Adrian Rogers for the alliterative list, though the substance is my own reflection.)

Here is the text of St. Paul's "five-point plan" for better mental health:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your moderateness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy --think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me -- put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you] (Phil 4:4-9).

Note that the final two sentences (shown above enclosed in square brackets) are not included in today's liturgical proclamation, but it seems like a good idea to include it in these reflections, so I do.

Step I. Rejoice in the Presence of the Lord Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your moderateness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Of supreme importance in the Christian life is requesting, receiving, and cultivating the gift of the presence of the Lord. We are too easily turned inward and forgetful of God's presence. To become more consciously and stably aware of God's presence is to be filled with joy and peace.

As an aside, note that the text mentions joy (χαίρω – Chairoo) but it also mentions moderateness. The Greek word used is ἐπιεικὲς (epieikes) which means to be gentle, mild, forbearing, fair, reasonable, or moderate. Epieíkeia relaxes unnecessary strictness in favor of gentleness whenever possible. Such an attitude is common when one is joyful and unafraid. By contrast, an unbending and unyielding attitude often bespeaks fear.

There are of course times when one should not easily give way. But often there is room for some leeway and the assumption of good will. A serene mind and spirit, which are gifts of the presence of God, can often allow for this; there is an increasing ability to allow things to unfold rather than to insist on controlling and manipulating conversations and outcomes and to win on every point.

The central point is that as we become more aware of God's presence, and thus more serene and less conflicted within, we no longer need to shout others down or to win all the time. We can insist on what is true, but can express ourselves more moderately and calmly. We are able to stay in the conversation, content to sow seeds rather than insisting on reaping every harvest of victory.

Cultivating a joyful sense of the presence of God, and seeing the serenity and moderateness that are its fruits, is a first step toward, and a sure sign of, better mental health and greater contentment.

Step II. Rely on the Power of the LordDo not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition . . . present your requests to God.

There are very few things as destructive to our mental health as worry. Worry is like sand in a machine. Not only does it hinder the workings of the machine, it damages it. But simply being told not to worry isn't very helpful. St. Paul is not simply saying, "Don't worry."

Paul has already laid groundwork for the diminishment of worry by telling us to cultivate a sense of the presence of God. When I was a little boy, my father left for the Vietnam War. During the year he was away, I spent many anxious nights worrying about a lot of things. But as soon as my father returned, my fears went away. Daddy was home and everything was all right.

To the degree that we really experience that God is near, many of our fears subside. My own experience is that as my awareness of God's presence has grown, my anxieties have significantly diminished.

Paul also says that the power of God is only a prayer away. Here, too, I (and many others) can testify that God has a way of working things out. However, He may not always come when you want Him or handle things exactly as you want. When I look back and reflect on my life, I can truly say that God has always made a way for me. None of my struggles and disappointments have ever destroyed me; if anything, they strengthened me.

Whatever it is, take it to the Lord in prayer. Ponder deeply how He has delivered you in the past, has made a way out of no way, and has drawn straight with crooked lines.

Let the Holy Spirit anoint your memory to make you aware of God's saving power in your life and recall how God has delivered you. These memories should give us serenity when we consider that prayer is both effective and an ever-present source of power.

Antidote – So much worry, which is a kind of mental illness, dissipates when we experience that God is present and that His power is only one prayer away.

So the second step to greater mental health is knowing by experience that God can and will make a way.

Step III. Remember the Provision of the Lord . . . with thanksgiving . . .

Thanksgiving is a way of disciplining the mind to count our blessings. Why is this important? Because too easily we become negative. Every day billions of things go right while only a handful go wrong. But what do we tend to focus on? You bet: the few things that go wrong! This is a form of mental illness that feeds our anxiety and comes from our fallen nature.

Gratitude disciplines our mind to count our blessings. As we do this, we begin to become men and women of hope and confidence. Why? Because what you feed, grows. If you feed the negative, it will grow; if you feed the positive, it will grow. God richly blesses us every day if we will but open our eyes to see it.

Step three is disciplining our fallen mind to see the wider reality of our rich blessings. This heals us and gives us great peace and a serene mind.

Step IV. Rest in the Peace of the Lord And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As we begin to undertake these steps, our mental outlook and health improve. Gradually, serenity becomes a deeper and more stable reality for us. The text here says that this serenity will not only be present, it will "guard" (or as some translations say, "keep") our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. In other words, as this serenity grows it screens out the negativity of this world and the demons of discouragement. Having this peace allows us to see the Lord, and seeing the Lord deepens that peace . . . and the cycle grows and continues!

It has been my experience that the profound anxiety and anger that beset my early years has not only gone away, but is unlikely to return given the serenity I now increasingly enjoy. I am guarded and protected increasingly by the serenity God gives.

Step V. Reflect on the Plan of the Lord Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.

Maintenance plan – As this serenity, this sense of well-being, comes to us, St. Paul finally advises a kind of maintenance plan wherein we intentionally and actively focus our thoughts and attention on what is godly, true, good, and beautiful.

What you feed, grows – While it may be true that we need to stay informed about the news of the world, beware a steady diet of the 24/7 news cycle. The media tend to focus on the bad news, on what is controversial and/or adversarial. If it bleeds, it leads. Too much of that and you're unsettled before you know it. Limit your portions of this and focus on the greater, better, and lasting things of God. Ponder His plan, His truth, His glory, and His priorities.

And old song says, "More about Jesus would I know, more of his saving mercy show, more of his saving fullness see, more of his love who died for me."

Yes, more about Jesus, less about this world. How can we expect to maintain our mental health and serenity on a steady dose of insanity, stinking thinking, wrongful priorities, endless adversity, darkness, chaos, and foolishness?

Do you want peace? Reflect on the Lord's plan for you.

So, then, here are five steps to better mental health. It all begins with the practice of the presence of the Lord, calling on His power and being grateful for His providence, savoring His peace (which inevitably comes), and turning our attention more to the things of God and less to the things of this world.

Here's to good mental health for us all! In times like these, we need to balance our sorrow with rejoicing in God's ability to draw good from even the worst of circumstances.

26 posted on 12/12/2015 9:15:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: All
27 posted on 12/12/2015 9:23:38 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: All
Sunday Gospel Reflections

3rd Sunday of Advent
Reading I: Zep 3:14-18 II: Phil 4:4-7

Luke 3:10-18

10 And the multitudes asked him, "What then shall we do?"
11 And he answered them, "He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise."
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"
13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than is appointed you."
14 Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Rob no one by violence or by false accusation, and be content with your wages."
15 As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ,
16 John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
18 So, with many other exhortations, he preached good news to the people.

Interesting Details

One Main Point

It is not the religious leaders who are willing to repent, but the ordinary people and those who are on the fringes of Jewish society: toll collectors, soldiers. These are the same people who respond positively to Jesus' teachings.


28 posted on 12/12/2015 9:28:46 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: All
Celebrate the feast of Christmas every day, even every moment in the interior temple of your spirit, remaining like a baby in the bosom of the heavenly Father, where you will be reborn each moment in the Divine Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Paul of the Cross

29 posted on 12/12/2015 9:31:01 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: All

The Angelus 

The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary: 
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit. 

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of
our death. Amen. 

Behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it done unto me according to Thy word. 

Hail Mary . . . 

And the Word was made Flesh: And dwelt among us. 

Hail Mary . . . 

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. 

Let us pray: 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts; that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord.


"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you" (Lk 1:28) 

 "Blessed are you among women,
 and blessed is the fruit of your womb"
(Lk 1:42). 

30 posted on 12/12/2015 9:32:10 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: All
Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

Saint Lucy,
Virgin and Martyr
December 13th


Saint Lucy from the Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo (Milan, early 15th century, tempera, ink and gold leaf on parchment.) Pierpont Morgan Library, New York

Collect and Readings - Prayer to St Lucy - Story of St. Lucy-Sweden's custom -Recipes for Celebration


May the glorious intercession
of the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy
give us new heart, we pray, O Lord,
so that we may celebrate her heavenly birthday
in this present age
and so behold things eternal.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

First Reading: 2 Corinthians 10:17 - 11:2
"Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." For it is not the man who commends himself that is accepted, but the man whom the Lord commends. I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 25: 1-13
"Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, 'Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."


Prayer to Saint Lucy
Hear us, O God, our salvation, that, as we rejoice in keeping the festival of Blessed Lucy, thy virgin and martyr, so we may profit by the tender devotion we gain through her example. Through our Lord. Amen.

Story of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
According to the traditional story, she was born to rich and noble parents about 283. Her father died when she was young. Fifty-two years prior to Saint Lucy, Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr was executed. Saint Agatha's fame attracted many visitors to her relics at Catania. Lucy and her mother, Eutychia, made the pilgrimage, where Eutychia was healed of a hemorrhage. Lucy persuaded Eutychia to distribute a great part of their riches among the poor. This angered the young man to whom she was betrothed. He reported her as a Christian. She was executed by with sword in the year 303. She was first condemned to suffer the shame of prostitution but in the strength of God she stood unmovable and could not be dragged away to the place of shame. God also saved her from being set on fire. According to some stories, Saint Lucy's eyes were plucked out during her torture and God miraculously restored her sight. Her feast day is celebrated especially in Sweden, where elements of light and sight, as well as the martyr's crown, are combined in a beautiful family custom appropriate for Advent celebration.

Sweden's Customs
The eldest daughter of the household, wearing a white dress with a sash of crimson and a crown of branches set with lighted candles, wakes all the members of the household and serves them special cake and coffee. While it may not be practical to light a crown of candles, the family can enjoy this custom of a special treat prepared by the eldest daughter of the family (with help from mother, if necessary). As a substitute for the flaming crown, the coffee cake can be prepared in the shape of a crown and set with candles.

Recipes for a Saint Lucy's celebration
Recipes from A Continual Feast by Evelyn Birge Vitz, originally published by Harper & Row in 1995, now available in paperback from Ignatius Press (see links page).

Saint Lucy's Crown
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup of warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sweet butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 cups flour
Grated rind of 1 lemon
4-5 tablespoons blanched almonds, grated or finely chopped
4-5 tablespoons chopped candied citron (optional)
Confectioners' Sugar Glaze (see recipe below)
Tapers or thin candles (optional)

Crush the saffron to a fine powder, and steep it in a tablespoon or two of the lukewarm milk for about 10 minutes. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set the mixture aside for 5 to 10 minutes, or until frothy.

Scald the remaining milk. Stir in the rest of the sugar, and the salt and butter. Stir until the butter is melted. Let cool to lukewarm. Stir into the yeast mixture. Add the saffron milk and lightly beaten egg. Stir in the flour gradually, mixing well. Add the lemon rind, almonds, and citron, if you like.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. While you are kneading, add more flour if the dough is sticky.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down. Cut off one-third to make the top braid; set aside. Divide the remaining dough into three parts. Roll each part into a rope about 25 inches long. Place the three ropes close together on a buttered baking sheet and braid them together. (Try starting from the middle; you may find it easier.) Form the braid into a circle, pinching the ends to seal.

Divide the reserved dough into three parts. Roll each part into a rope about 24 inches long. Proceed as above: Place the three ropes close together on a buttered baking sheet and braid them together. Form the braid into a circle, pinching the ends to seal.

Cover both braids lightly and let the bread rise for 30-45 minutes, or until almost doubled in bulk.

Bake at 400 degree F for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for about 40 minutes longer, or until the two braided rings are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Place the smaller braid on top of the larger. Dizzle over it the Confectioners' Sugar Glaze. Optional: Stick thin tapers into the crown and light them. There is no fixed number of tapers; why not put in one for each member of your family?

Yield 1 large double braided Saint Lucy's Crown

You can elimate the saffron, and flavor the crown with 2 teaspoons ground cardamom; add it along with the salt. For a smaller crown, you can just halve this recipe; the baking time will be a little shorter.

Confectioners' Sugar Glaze
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice or milk or water
1/2-1 cup confectioner's sugar

Stir the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar; mix well. Add more sugar or lemon juice as needed to produce a proper consistency for dizzling.

Swedish Saint Lucy Ginger Snaps (Luciapepperkakor)
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 1/2 cups dark or light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 cup heavy cream
6-7 cups flour
Icing (recipe below)

Heat the corn syrup in a saucepan. Stir in the sugar, molasses, ginger, lemon rind, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whip the cream until almost stiff.

Stir the syrup mixture gradually into the cream. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer for 4 to 5 minutes (about twice as long if you are beating by hand with a spoon or whisk). Add 4 cups of the flour, mixing well with a spoon. Then gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, pliable dough. Knead for 2 or 3 minutes.

Wrap the dough well in well in waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. (If you are in a hurry, you can start the chilling process in the freezer. Leave the dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with fancy cutters, such as animals and people, heart and flowers. Try making some pretty young girls -- perhaps with crowns -- like Saint Lucy. If possible, do creche scenes or other Christmas motifs, such as stars and angels. (Even in our baking we can try to emphasize what matters about Christmas -- the star, the baby, the angels singing -- and play down Santa Claus and full stockings.)

Place the cookies on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 275 degrees F for about 12 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.

Ice when cold.

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

Beat the white of an egg until frothy. Add 1 cup confectioners' sugar (and, optional, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice). If the icing is too thick, add more lemon juice; too thin, more sugar. You can make several batches, adding food coloring as you wish. An even quicker icing is just a few drops of water mixed with confectioners' sugar and food coloring

31 posted on 12/13/2015 8:13:40 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: All
Saint's Days are superseded by the Sunday liturgy.

Lucy and Odilia: Two Saints for Sore Eyes [Catholic Caucus]
Saint Lucy (Santa Lucia)
Saint Lucy[Martyr]

32 posted on 12/13/2015 8:24:06 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: All
Information: St. Lucy

Feast Day: December 13

Born: 284, Syracuse

Died: 304, Syracuse

Major Shrine: San Geremia, Venice

Patron of: blind; martyrs; epidemics; salesmen, throat infections

33 posted on 12/13/2015 8:29:07 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: All

St. Lucy

Feast Day: December 13
Born: 283 :: Died: 304

This beloved saint was born and lived in Syracuse, Sicily. Lucy was the daughter of very noble and rich parents. Her father died when she was very young.

Young Lucy secretly promised Jesus that she would never marry so that she could be his alone. She was a lovely girl, with beautiful eyes. More than one young noble set his heart on her.

Her mother Eutychia, begged her to marry a young pagan named Paschasius, whom she had chosen for Lucy. But for three years Lucy would not agree and was able to hold it off.

Lucy then thought of a plan to win her mother over. Her mother suffered from hemorrhages and Lucy convinced her to go to the shrine of St. Agatha and pray for her recovery.

When God heard their prayers and cured her mother, Lucy told her of her promise to be Christ's bride. Her grateful mother finally allowed Lucy to follow her vocation.

Paschasius was furious at losing his bride to be. In his bitter anger, he accused her of being a Christian. He threatened her with the frightening torture of being blinded.

But Lucy was even willing to lose both her eyes rather than belong to anyone but Jesus. And that is just what happened. Many statues show St. Lucy holding her lovely eyes in the palm of her hand.

Jesus rewarded Lucy for her heroic love. He worked a miracle and gave her back her eyes, more beautiful than ever.

The pagan judge tried to send the saint to a house of sinful women. He hoped that Lucy might be tempted to give up Christ. But when they tried to carry her away, God made her body so heavy that they could not move her even with a team of oxen.

Then she was surrounded with bundles of wood which they set on fire, but the fire went out. In the end, she was stabbed and became a martyr for Jesus in the year 304.

34 posted on 12/13/2015 8:32:36 AM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  Luke 3
10 And the people asked him, saying: What then shall we do? Et interrogabant eum turbæ, dicentes : Quid ergo faciemus ? και επηρωτων αυτον οι οχλοι λεγοντες τι ουν ποιησομεν
11 And he answering, said to them: He that hath two coats, let him give to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do in like manner. Respondens autem dicebat illis : Qui habet duas tunicas, det non habenti : et qui habet escas, similiter faciat. αποκριθεις δε λεγει αυτοις ο εχων δυο χιτωνας μεταδοτω τω μη εχοντι και ο εχων βρωματα ομοιως ποιειτω
12 And the publicans also came to be baptized, and said to him: Master, what shall we do? Venerunt autem et publicani ut baptizarentur, et dixerunt ad illum : Magister, quid faciemus ? ηλθον δε και τελωναι βαπτισθηναι και ειπον προς αυτον διδασκαλε τι ποιησομεν
13 But he said to them: Do nothing more than that which is appointed you. At ille dixit ad eos : Nihil amplius, quam quod constitutum est vobis, faciatis. ο δε ειπεν προς αυτους μηδεν πλεον παρα το διατεταγμενον υμιν πρασσετε
14 And the soldiers also asked him, saying: And what shall we do? And he said to them: Do violence to no man; neither calumniate any man; and be content with your pay. Interrogabant autem eum et milites, dicentes : Quid faciemus et nos ? Et ait illis : Neminem concutiatis, neque calumniam faciatis : et contenti estote stipendiis vestris. επηρωτων δε αυτον και στρατευομενοι λεγοντες και ημεις τι ποιησομεν και ειπεν προς αυτους μηδενα διασεισητε μηδε συκοφαντησητε και αρκεισθε τοις οψωνιοις υμων
15 And as the people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ; Existimante autem populo, et cogitantibus omnibus in cordibus suis de Joanne, ne forte ipse esset Christus, προσδοκωντος δε του λαου και διαλογιζομενων παντων εν ταις καρδιαις αυτων περι του ιωαννου μηποτε αυτος ειη ο χριστος
16 John answered, saying unto all: I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier that I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: respondit Joannes, dicens omnibus : Ego quidem aqua baptizo vos : veniet autem fortior me, cujus non sum dignus solvere corrigiam calceamentorum ejus : ipse vos baptizabit in Spiritu Sancto et igni : απεκρινατο ο ιωαννης απασιν λεγων εγω μεν υδατι βαπτιζω υμας ερχεται δε ο ισχυροτερος μου ου ουκ ειμι ικανος λυσαι τον ιμαντα των υποδηματων αυτου αυτος υμας βαπτισει εν πνευματι αγιω και πυρι
17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. cujus ventilabrum in manu ejus, et purgabit aream suam, et congregabit triticum in horreum suum, paleas autem comburet igni inextinguibili. ου το πτυον εν τη χειρι αυτου και διακαθαριει την αλωνα αυτου και συναξει τον σιτον εις την αποθηκην αυτου το δε αχυρον κατακαυσει πυρι ασβεστω
18 And many other things exhorting, did he preach to the people. Multa quidem et alia exhortans evangelizabat populo. πολλα μεν ουν και ετερα παρακαλων ευηγγελιζετο τον λαον

35 posted on 12/13/2015 11:30:33 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: annalex
10. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11. He answered and said to them, He that has two coats, let him impart to him that has none; and he that has meat, let him do likewise.
12. Then came also Publicans to be baptized, and said to him, Master, what shall we do?
13. And he said to them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.
14. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said to them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

GREG. In the preceding words of John, it is plain that the hearts of his hearers were troubled, and sought for advice from him. As it is added, And they asked him, saying, &c.

ORIGEN; Three classes of men are introduced as inquiring of John concerning their salvation, one which the Scripture calls the multitude, another to which it gives the name of Publicans, and a third which is noticed by the appellation of soldiers.

THEOPHYL. Now to the Publicans and soldiers he gives a commandment to abstain from evil, but the multitudes, as not living in an evil condition, he commands to perform some good work, as it follows, He that has two coats, let him give one.

GREG. Because a coat is more necessary for our use than a cloak, it belongs to the bringing forth of fruits worthy of repentance, that we should divide with our neighbors not only our superfluities but those which are absolutely necessary to us, as our coat, or the meat with which we support our bodies; and hence it follows, And he who has meat, let him do likewise.

BASIL; But we are hereby taught, that every thing we have over and above what is necessary to our daily support, we are bound to give to him who has nothing for God's sake, who has given us liberally whatever we possess.

GREG. For because it was written in the law, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, he is proved to love his neighbor less than himself, who does not share with him in his distress, those things which are even necessary to himself. Therefore that precept is given of dividing with one's neighbor the two coats, since if one is divided no one is clothed. But we must remark in this, of how much value are works of mercy, since of the works worthy of repentance these are enjoined before all others.

AMBROSE; For other commands of duty have reference only to individuals, mercy has a common application. It is therefore a common commandment to all, to contribute to him that has not. Mercy is the fullness of virtues, yet in mercy itself a proportion is observed to meet the capacities of man's condition, in that each individual is not to deprive himself of all, but what he has to share it with the poor.

ORIGEN; But this place admits of a deeper meaning, for as we ought not to serve two masters, so neither to have two coats, lest one should be the clothing of the old man, the other of the new, but we ought to cast off the old man, and give to him who is naked. For one man has one coat, another has none at all, the strength therefore of the two is exactly contrary, and as it has been written that we should cast all our crimes to the bottom of the sea, so ought we to throw from us our vices and errors, and lay them upon him who has been the cause of them.

THEOPHYL. But some one has observed that the two coats are the spirit and letter of Scripture, but John advises him that has these two to instruct the ignorant, and give him at least the letter.

THEOPHYL; What great virtue there was in the discourse of the Baptist is manifested by this, that the Publicans, nay even the soldiers, he compelled to seek counsel of him concerning their salvation, as it follows, But the publicans came.

CHRYS. Great is the force of virtue that makes the rich seek the way of salvation from the poor, from him that has nothing.

THEOPHYL; He commands them therefore that they exact no more than what was presented to them, as it follows, And he said to them, Do no more than what is appointed to you. But they are called publicans who collect the public taxes, or who are the farmers of the public revenue or public property? Those also who pursue the gain of this world by traffic are denoted by the same titles, all of whom, each in his own sphere, he equally forbids to practice deceit, that so by first keeping themselves from desiring other men's goods, they might at length come to share their own with their neighbors.

It follows, But the soldiers also asked him. In the justest manner he advises them not to seek gain by falsely accusing those whom they ought to benefit by their protection. Hence it follows, And he says to them, Strike no one, (i.e. violently,) nor accuse any falsely, (i.e. by unjustly using arms,) and be content with your wages.

AMBROSE; Teaching thereby that wages were affixed to military duty, lest men seeking for gain should go about as robbers

GREG. NAZ. For by wages he refers to the imperial pay, and the rewards assigned to distinguished actions.

AUG. For he knew that soldiers, when they use their arms, are not homicides, but the ministers of the law; not the avengers of their own injuries, but the defenders of the public safety. Otherwise he might have answered, "Put away your arms, abandon warfare, strike no one, wound no one, destroy no one." For what is it that is blamed in war? Is it that men die, who some time or other must die, that the conquerors might rule in peace? To blame this is the part of timid not religious men. The desire of injury, the cruelty of revenge, a savage and pitiless disposition, the fierceness of rebellion, the lust of power, and such like things are the evils which are justly blamed in wars, which generally for the sake of thereby bringing punishment upon the violence of those who resist, are undertaken and carried on by good men either by command of God or some lawful authority, when they find themselves in that order of things in which their very condition justly obliges them either to command such a thing themselves, or to obey when others command it.

CHRYS. But John's desire when he spoke to the Publicans and soldiers, was to bring them over to a higher wisdom, for which as they were not fitted, he reveals to them commoner truths, lest if he put forward the higher they should pay no attention thereto, and be deprived of the others also.

15. And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
16. John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
17. Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

ORIGEN; It was meet that more deference should be paid to John than to other men, for he lived such as no other man. Wherefore indeed most rightly did they regard him with affection, only they kept not within due bounds; hence it is said, But while the people were expecting whether he were the Christ.

AMBROSE; Now what could be more absurd than that he who was fancied to be in another should not be believed in his own person? He whom they thought to have come by a woman, is not believed to have come by a virgin; while in fact the sign of the Divine coming was placed in tile childbearing of a virgin, not of a woman

ORIGEN; But love is dangerous when it is uncontrolled. For he who loves any one ought to consider the nature and causes of loving, and not to love more than the object deserves. For if he pass the due measure and bounds of love, both he who loves, and he who is loved, will be in sin.

GREEK EX. And hence, John gloried not in the estimation in which all held him, nor in any way seemed to desire the deference of others, but embraced the lowest humility. Hence it follows, John answered.

THEOPHYL; But how could he answer them who in secret thought that he was Christ, except it was that they not only thought, but also (as another Evangelist declares) sending Priests and Levites to him asked him whether he was the Christ or not?

AMBROSE; Or: John saw into the secrets of the heart; but let us remember by whose grace, for it is of the gift of God to reveal things to man, not of the virtue of man, which is assisted by the Divine blessing, rather than capable of perceiving by any natural power of its own. But quickly answering them, he proved that he was not the Christ, for his works were by visible operations. For as man is compounded of two natures, i.e. soul and body, the visible mystery is made holy by the visible, the invisible by the invisible; for by water the body is washed, by the Spirit the soul is cleansed of its stains. It is permitted to us also in the very water to have the sanctifying influence of the Deity breathed upon us. And therefore there was one baptism of repentance, another of grace. The latter was by both water and Spirit, the former by one only; the work of man is to bring forth repentance for his sin, it is the gift of God to pour in the grace of His mystery. Devoid therefore of all envy of Christ's greatness, he declared not by word but by work that he was not the Christ. Hence it follows, There comes after me one mightier than I. In those words, mightier than I, he makes no comparison, for there can be none between the Son of God and man, but because there are many mighty, no one is mightier but Christ. So far indeed was as he from making comparison, that he adds, Whose shoes latched I am not worthy to unloose.

AUG. Matthew says, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear. If therefore it is worth while to understand any difference in these expressions, we can only suppose that John said one at one time, another at another, or both together, To bear his shoes, and to loose the latchet of his shoes, so that though one Evangelist may have related this, the others that, yet all have related the truth. But if John intended no more when he spoke of the shoes of our Lord but His excellence and his own humility, whether he said loosing the latchet of the shoes, or bearing them, they have still kept the same sense who by the mention of shoes have in their own words expressed the same signification of humility.

AMBROSE; By the words, Whose shoes I am not worthy to bear, he shows that the grace of preaching the Gospel was conferred upon the Apostles, who were shod for the Gospel. He seems however to say it, because John frequently represented the Jewish people.

GREG. But John denounces himself as unworthy to loose the latchet of Christ's shoes: as if he openly said, I am not able to disclose the footsteps of my Redeemer, who do not presume unworthily to take unto myself the name of bridegroom, for it was an ancient custom that when a man refused to take to wife her whom he ought, whoever should come to her betrothed by right of kin, was to loose his shoe. Or because shoes are made from the skins of dead animals, our Lord being made flesh appeared as it were with shoes, as taking upon Himself the carcass of our corruption. The latchet of the shoe is the connection of the mystery. John therefore can not loose the latchet of the shoe, because neither is he able to fathom the mystery of the Incarnation, though he acknowledged it by the Spirit of prophecy.

CHRYS. And having said that his own baptism was only with water, he next shows the excellence of that baptism which was brought by Christ, adding, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and fire, signifying by the very metaphor which he uses the abundance of grace. For he says not, " He shall give you the Holy Spirit," but He shall baptize you. And again, by the addition of fire, he shows the power of grace. And as Christ calls the grace of the Spirit, water, meaning by water the purity resulting from it, and the abundant consolation which is brought to minds which are capable of receiving Him; so also John, by the word fire, expresses the fervor and uprightness of grace, as well as the consuming of sins.

THEOPHYL; The Holy Spirit also may be understood by the word fire, for He kindles with love and enlightens with wisdom the hearts which He fills. Hence also the Apostles received the baptism of the Spirit in the appearance of fire. There are some who explain it, that now we are baptized with the Spirit, hereafter we shall be with fire, that as in truth we are now born again to the remission of our sins by water and the Spirit, so then we shall be cleansed from certain lighter sins by the baptism of purifying fire.

ORIGEN; And as John was waiting by the river Jordan for those who came to his baptism, and some he drove away, saying, Generation of vipers, but those who confessed their sins he received, so shall the Lord Jesus stand in the fiery stream with the flaming sword, that whoever after the close of this life desires to pass over to Paradise and needs purification, He may baptize him with this laver, and pass him over to paradise, but whoso has not the seal of the former baptisms, him He shall not baptize with the laver of fire.

BASIL; But because he says, He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, let no one admit that baptism to be valid in which the name of His Spirit only has been invoked, for we must ever keep undiminished that tradition which has' been sealed to us in quickening grace. To add or take away ought thereof excludes from eternal life.

GREEK EX. By these words then, He shall baptize with the Holy Spirit, He signifies the abundance of His grace, the plenteousness of His mercy; but lest any should suppose that while to bestow abundantly is both in the power and will of the Creator,

He will have no occasion to punish the disobedient, he adds, whose fan is in his hand, showing that He is not only the rewarder of the righteous, but the avenger of them that speak lies. But the fan expresses the promptitude of His judgment. For not with the process of passing sentence on trial, but in an instant and without any interval he separates those that are to be condemned from the company of those that are to be saved.

CYRIL; By the following words, And he shall thoroughly purge his floor, the Baptist signifies that the Church belongs to Christ as her Lord.

THEOPHYL; For by the floor is represented the present Church, in which many are called but few are chosen. The purging of which floor is even now carried on individually, when every perverse offender is either cast out of the Church for his open sins, (by the hands of the Priesthood,) or for his secret sins is after death condemned by Divine judgment. And at the end of the world it will be accomplished universally, when the Son of Man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom every thing that has offended.

AMBROSE; By the sign of a fan then the Lord is declared to possess the power of discerning merits, since when the corn is winnowed in the threshing floor, the full ears are separated from the empty by the trial of the wind blowing them. Hence it follows, And be shall gather the wheat into his barn. By this comparison, the Lord shows that on the day of judgment He will discern the solid merits and fruits of virtue from the unfruitful lightness of empty boasting and vain deeds, about to place the men of more perfect righteousness in His heavenly mansion. For that is indeed the more perfect fruit which was thought worthy to be like to Him who fell as a grain of wheat, that He might bring forth fruit in abundance.

CYRIL; But the chaff signifies the trifling and empty blown about and liable to be carried away by every blast of sin.

BASIL; But they are mixed up with those who are worthy of the kingdom of heaven, as the chaff with the wheat. This is not however from consideration of their love of God and their neighbor, nor from their spiritual gifts or temporal blessings.

ORIGEN; Or, because without the wind the wheat and chaff cannot be separated, therefore He has the fan in His hand, which shows some to be chaff, some wheat; for when you were as the light chaff, (i.e. unbelieving,) temptation showed you to be what you knew not; but when you shall bravely endure temptation, the temptation will not make you faithful and enduring, but it will bring to light the virtue which was hid in you.

GREG. NYSS. But it is well to know, that the treasure which according to the promises are laid up for those who live honestly, are such as the words of man cannot express, as eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man to conceive. And the punishments which await sinners bear no proportion to any of those things which now affect the senses. And although some of those punishments are called by our names, yet their difference is very great. For when you hear of fire, you are taught to understand something else from the expression which follows, that is not quenched, beyond what comes into the idea of other fire.

GREG The fire of hell is here wonderfully expressed, for our earthly fire is kept up by heaping wood upon it, and cannot live unless supplied with fuel, but on the contrary the fire of hell, though a bodily fire, and burning bodily the wicked who are put into it, is not kept up by wood, but once made remains unquenchable.

Catena Aurea Luke 3
36 posted on 12/13/2015 11:31:01 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: annalex

Soldier Saints Demetrius, George, Procopius and Artemy

17th Century
Hilander Monastery, Mt. Athos

37 posted on 12/13/2015 11:31:27 AM PST by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: All

Sabbath Sunday

December 13, 2015

Opening the Doors of Mercy

The words below were spoken by Pope Francis on December 9, 2015, the day after the Year of Mercy began with the opening of the Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Today, December 13, Pope Francis opens a Holy Door at St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome. Holy Doors at cathedrals throughout the world will also be opened this day. May each of us follow the example of the Pope by opening the door of our heart to the Lord and to all people during this Year of Mercy.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

With the opening of the Holy Door yesterday in Saint Peter’s, we inaugurated the Jubilee of Mercy. This extraordinary Holy Year reminds us that, amid profound changes in our world, the Church is called to bear convincing witness to God’s mercy, which alone can triumph over human sin and bring true freedom. God’s mercy, made present in our midst by the incarnation of his Son, is the very heart of the Gospel.

This Year of Grace reminds us that mercy is what “pleases God most”, and that it has to find clear expression in our lives and in the Church’s structures. In today’s world, mercy and forgiveness often appear overwhelmed by self-interest, hedonism and venality, while in the Christian life they can be stifled by hypocrisy and worldliness.

Forgetfulness of God’s mercy blinds us even to seeing sin for what it is. That is why this Holy Year of Mercy is so important. Let us ask the Lord to make us ever more aware of his mercy at work in our lives and ever more effective in testifying to its transforming power in our world.

To watch the opening of the doors at St. Peter’s Basilica, visit Catholic News Service on youtube.

38 posted on 12/13/2015 4:36:58 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: All

Sunday, December 13

Liturgical Color: Red

Today is the Memorial of St. Lucy, virgin
and martyr. St. Lucy was blinded as she
was tortured for her faith in 304 A.D. Her
eyesight was miraculously restored and
she is honored as the patron saint of
those with eye trouble.

39 posted on 12/13/2015 4:51:17 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: All
Catholic Culture

Advent: December 13th

Third Sunday of Advent


December 13, 2015 (Readings on USCCB website)


O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord's Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


Recipes (9)


Activities (2)


Prayers (4)


Library (5)

Old Calendar: Third Sunday of Advent; Gaudete Sunday

"Rejoice: the Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament.

Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.

Today is the feast of St. Lucy which is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

Jesse Tree ~ Jonah

Christ Even Now on the Way to Bethlehem
Evidently, in the mind of holy Church, neither the prophecy concerning Bethlehem Ephrata nor its fulfillment in the day of Caesar Augustus is to be considered merely a glorious divine disposition and achievement. No, the prophecy of Micheus is still being verified every day, but predominantly during the annual Advent season; for the selfsame incarnate eternal Son of God who journeyed to Bethlehem to be born there physically, now to the end of time comes to human souls as to spiritual Bethlehems, there to be born anew, again and again.

But be sure to picture these merciful spiritual journeyings of Christ to the Bethlehem of souls as all too often sadly realistic spiritual repetitions of His first long journey over the rugged road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Meditate long on the wanton and malicious opposition He encounters on His way to them from souls that leave their senses and heart and mind to be ruled by earthly vanities, and their whole selves to be willing victims of the sensual and selfish illusions and witcheries of the seven capital vices.

Can you still fail to see why Isaias and the Baptist compare the hardships of the way of the world's Messiah-King to souls with a rough, crooked, and almost impassable road up steep hills and down precipitous valleys and through dangerous mountain passes? Do you wonder that these prophets of His coming insist so strongly that merely sentimental longings and routine prayers, however multiplied, cannot prepare us worthily for the entrance He must expect and the welcome He craves?

Pray very honestly, therefore, that you may begin to see the practical reasons for the Church's crying out in the desert world, and even into your own interior soul and heart:

"Prepare ye the way of the Lord: Make straight in the wilderness His paths; Every valley shall be exalted; Every mountain and hill shall be made low; And the crooked shall be made straight; And the rough ways plain" (Is. 40:3, 4). Then shall you see the salvation of God!

Excerpted from Our Way to the Father by Rev. Leo M. Krenz, S.J.

40 posted on 12/13/2015 4:57:03 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-2021-4041-52 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson