Holy Family: Nurturing family relationships

12-30-2016Question of the Week

Reading I: Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 (duties toward parents)
Reading II: Colossians 3:12-21 (the practice of virtues)
Gospel: Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23 (the flight to Egypt)
Key Passage: Joseph got up, took the Child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt. (Matthew 2:14)

Adult: What can you do this week to help someone in your household or circle of friends feel more secure and loved?
Child: What good thing will you do this week to show yourlove for a parent or grandparent?

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Christmas: Midnight

12-25-2016Question of the Week

Reading I: Isaiah 9:1–6 (the Prince of Peace)
Reading II: Titus 2:11–14 (transforming of life)
Gospel: Luke 2:1–14 (the birth of Jesus)
Key Passage: Isaiah 9:5 (a Child is born)

Adult: Why is knowing Jesus important in your life?
Child: How do you experience Jesus when you give a gift to someone else?

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Glory to God in the Highest

12-25-2016Weekly Reflections

When Judy Garland first saw the lyrics to "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for the film Meet me in St. Louis, she said they were too gloomy, even though they reflected a family's real sadness at leaving their home. The original lyrics expressed true despair, so she persuaded composer Hugh Martin to change them to a more hopeful tone, the words we all know today. The human spirit wants to hope and that's what the Christmas story gives us, proclaiming God's love in becoming one with us in Jesus. The best Christmas song remains the original: "Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to those on whom God's favor rests" (Luke 2:14).

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Are you being obedient to your faith?

12-18-2016Weekly Reflections

Pope Francis celebrated his first Mass as pope on the feast of Saint Joseph. In his homily, he held up Joseph as one who models mercy for us by being the protector of Mary and Jesus. By taking Mary into his home as his wife and giving the child the name Jesus, Joseph cooperates with the Spirit of God, who is bringing about a new creation. Unlike King Ahaz who backed away from working with the prophet who came in God's name, Joseph does angel's biding. Pope Francis preached that we can see immense tenderness in Joseph's heart. Because of that tenderness, a child is born who is Emmanuel, God-with-us, and a pattern is set: God chooses to work through human beings to bring salvation and new life to the world. On our part, we are invited to participate in what Saint Paul calls "the obedience of faith" (Romans 1:5), made possible by the grace God so lavishly bestows on us so we might know and do God's will.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent: Welcoming light

12-18-2016Question of the Week

Reading I:Isaiah 7:10-14 (birth of Emmanuel)
Reading II:Romans 1:1-7 (greetings from Paul)
Gospel: Matthew 1:18–24 (the birth of Jesus)
Key Passage: When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:24)

Adult: Whom do you find it difficult to welcome in your life? What can you do to overcome that?
Child: What could you do this week to make someone feel welcome, as Joseph welcomed Mary?

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He will come again!

12-11-2016Weekly Reflections

Pope Francis says the gospel constantly calls us to rejoice. That is certainly true today. Isaiah's vision promises a healing of two bodies: the earth's body and the human body. What was a parched and dry desert will blossom and bloom. Glory and splendor will replace gloom and sorrow. Feeble hands and weak knees, the blind and the deaf, the lame and the mute—all will meet with joy and gladness. When will all this come about? When God comes, says Isaiah. Then Luke proclaims: This has happened in Jesus of Nazareth, in the person of a carpenter-preacher-healer-exorcist-Savior, once crucified, then raised, and who promises to come again. Can you hold on to this? The Letter of James counsels patience, a word rooted in the Latin word for suffering. One must suffer waiting for a new world's arrival. But joy is found even now because the Lord visits his waiting people in word and sacrament, and in others. This Sunday allows for wearing rose vestments as a sign of the coming joy Advent promises: "He will come again."

Where do you find this joy in your life?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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Third Sunday of Advent: Actions worthy of praise

12-08-2016Question of the Week

Reading I: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10 (Israel's deliverance)
Reading II: James 5:7-10 (patience)
Gospel:Matthew 11:2-11 (Christ's witness to John)
Key Passage: Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matthew 11:11)

Adult: How do you prepare yourself to meet Christ in those around you?
Child: What good thing have you done so far during Advent to be like Jesus?

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Repent: Change your Heart

12-04-2016Weekly Reflections

"Repent. Change your heart." On two Sundays every Advent, John the Baptist comes before us with his message calling for a change of heart, for doing what will transform us from a people caught up in our own pursuits to a community open to the dawning of a new age focused on Jesus Christ. John castigates the religious leaders who came out to the wilderness to hear him but whose hearts were far from being open to change. Calling them a brood of vipers would not have won them over, but he accurately declared that the hiding behind a claim to be descendants of Abraham would not gain them the kingdom of heaven either. What was needed was a full-fledged conversion of heart, a pilgrimage to the interior desert where God could woo and win them. The farseeing vision of the prophet Isaiah of one who would come in the power of the Spirit has been fulfilled in Christ. May the Scriptures encourage us to endure in hope, as Paul writes, so we may glorify the God and the Father of Jesus Christ.

How is the Holy Spirit guiding you to renew your heart and your hope during Advent?

—We Celebrate Worship Resource, Vol. 42, No. 1

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