Dec. 30, 2017 – Sixth Day within the Octave of the Nativity


Saint for the day: Egwin (d. c. 720)

Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

1 John 2:12-17 – Psalm 96 – Luke 2:36 – 40

A holy day has dawned upon us. Come, you nations, and adore the Lord. Today a great light ha come upon the earth. (today’s Gospel “Alleluia Verse)

Christmas is always celebrated on the 25th of December but some of the other feasts and celebrations of the Christmas season were calculated on various days following the 25th of December. So we celebrate the “Octave (8) day of Christmas which is New Years the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God with the Sunday in-between being the Feast of the Holy Family. Since the Church wants us to be able to celebrate Epiphany – which should be the 12th day of Christmas – this year is celebrated on Sunday, January 5th.

I guess what we end up with is the reality that with God there is no yesterday, today or tomorrow but only this one moment of salvation. God is just generous with us and let’s us “lock things down” so that we can better remember what we are trying to do as we follow him.

All that being said, we look at the Holy Scriptures appointed for today’s Liturgy which open with this line from 1st John: “I am writing to you children – fathers, and young men … do not love the world or the things of the world … it is all passing away.”

 In today’s Holy Gospel we are introduced to this holy women, Anna, who appeared to live in the temple day and night! Jesus is brought to the Temple to complete the Jewish prescriptions and then the Holy Family returned to Nazareth where, as the Gospel tells us, “the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40Reading this I have to tell you that it flashes up memories of so many of the saints and holy people of God who often spent long hours in the church and presence of God. They often forsook sleep and, as today’s Holy Gospel says, “they became strong, filled with wisdom and the favor of God with upon them.”

 A long time ago, reading about the great TV Evangelist of the 50’s, Bishop Fulton J. Sheen I found out that he did his weekly TV Show, “Life is worth living” live and without any script. His method kind of followed that of Anna in today’s Holy Gospel: he says he never prepared a sermon without being in the chapel in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Following his example, I prepare these Scratchpad Reflections early in the morning in the chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. If so many saints and holy men and women of God did this there must be something to it!

So many people today – priests and religious and faithfully-dedicated-lay persons – rush around doing the best they can to bring the presence of God to a world desperately in need of help. But often they “burn themselves out” because they never spend time with the source of their strength – the real presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament.

All of us – myself included – need to remind ourselves to conscientiously set apart some quiet time with the Lord. How do we expect God to communicate with us if we never come before Him in quiet prayer?

I have to get up early in the morning in order to have some precious time with the Lord before I get caught in the busyness of the day. I know that I have a long way to go in holiness but at least I’m trying to start on the right foot! Amen!

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