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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 31.12.23

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Catholic Daily Liturgical Guide 31.12.23

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SIRACH 3: 2 – 6, 12 – 14

The Lord honoured the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honours his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honours his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother. O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; and do not despise him all the days of his life. For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, and against your sins it will be credited to you a house raised in justice to you.

The Word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 128: 1 – 2, 3, 4 – 5 (R) 1.

R/. Blessed are all who fear the Lord, and walk in his ways.

Blessed are all who fear the Lord, 
and walk in his ways! 
By the labour of your hands you shall eat. 
You will be blessed and prosper. R/.

Your wife like a fruitful vine 
in the heart of your house; 
your children like shoots of the olive 
around your table. R/.

Indeed thus shall be blessed 
the man who fears the Lord. 
May the Lord bless you from Sion. 
May you see Jerusalem prosper 
all the days of your life! R/.

SECOND READING
Concerning the Christian life in the family.
COLOSSIANS 3: 12 – 21

Brethren: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And over all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as you teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

The Word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA 
Colossians 3: 15a, 16a

Alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts; let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
LUKE 2: 22 – 40

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, the parents of Jesus brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And inspired by the Spirit he came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favour of God was upon him.

The Gospel of the Lord.

GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Family as a Communion of Love


Sunday, December 31, 2023

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:39–40 (Gospel Year B)

Today we honor family life in general by pausing to ponder the particular and beautiful hidden life within the home of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In many ways, their daily life together would have been very similar to other families at that time. But in other ways, their life together is entirely unique and provides us with a perfect model for all families.

By God’s providence and design, the family life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph was spoken of in the Scripture very little. We read of the birth of Jesus, the presentation in the Temple, the flight into Egypt and the finding of Jesus in the Temple at age twelve. But other than these stories of their life together, we know very little.

The line from today’s Gospel quoted above does, however, give us some insight worth pondering. First, we see that this family “fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord…” Though this is in reference to Jesus being presented in the Temple, it should also be understood to apply to all aspects of their life together. Family life, just like our individual lives, must be ordered by the laws of our Lord.

The primary law of the Lord regarding family life is that it must share in the very unity and “communion of love” found in the life of the Most Holy Trinity. Each person of the Holy Trinity has perfect respect for the other, gives selflessly to each other without reserve, and receives each person in their totality. It is their love that makes them one and enables them to act together in perfect harmony as a communion of divine Persons. Though Saint Joseph was not immaculate in his nature, the perfection of love did live in his divine Son and in his immaculate wife. This overwhelming gift of their perfect love would have daily drawn him into the perfection of their lives.

Ponder your own closest relationships today. If you are blessed with a close family, ponder them. If not, ponder the persons put into your life who you are called to love with familial love. Who are you to be there for in good times and in bad? Who are you to sacrifice your life for without reserve? Who are you to offer respect, compassion, time, energy, mercy, generosity and every other virtue? And how well do you fulfill this duty of love?

Reflect, today, upon the fact that God wants you to share in a communion of life, not only with the Most Holy Trinity but also with those around you, especially your family. Try to ponder the hidden life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph and seek to make their family relationship the model for how you love others. May their perfect communion of love be a model for us all.

PRAYER:
Lord, draw me into the life, love and communion that You lived with Your Immaculate Mother and Saint Joseph. I offer You myself, my family and all those to whom I am called to love with a special love. May I imitate Your family love and life in all my relationships. Help me to know how to change and grow so that I may more fully share in Your family life. Jesus, I trust in You.

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