Sunday, December 28, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, December 28, 2014 with Reflection

Feast of the Holy Family

1ST READING - Genesis 15:1-6; 21:1-3
The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram! I am your shield; I will make your reward very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what good will your gifts be, if I keep on being childless and have as my heir the steward of my house, Eliezer?” Abram continued, “See, you have given me no offspring, and so one of my servants will be my heir.” Then the word of the Lord came to him: “No, that one shall not be your heir; your own issue shall be your heir.” The Lord took Abram outside and said: “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can. Just so,” he added, “shall your descendants be.” Abram put his faith in the Lord, who credited it to him as an act of righteousness. 21: The Lord took note of Sarah as he had said he would; he did for her as he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time that God had stated. Abraham gave the name Isaac to this son of his whom Sarah bore him.

P S A L M - Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
R: The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.
Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make known among the nations his deeds. Sing to him, sing his praise, proclaim all his wondrous deeds. (R) Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord! Look to the Lord in his strength; constantly seek his face. (R) You descendants of Abraham, his servants, sons of Jacob, his chosen ones! He, the Lord, is our God; throughout the earth his judgments prevail. (R) He remembers forever his covenant which he made binding for a thousand generations which he entered into with Abraham and by his oath to Isaac. (R)

2ND READING - Hebrews 11:8, 11-12, 17-19
Brothers and sisters: By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go. 11 By faith he received power to generate, even though he was past the normal age — and Sarah herself was sterile — for he thought that the one who had made the promise was trustworthy. 12 So it was that there came forth from one man, himself as good as dead, descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sands on the seashore.17 By faith Abraham, when put to the test, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac descendants shall bear your name.” 19 He reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead, and he received Isaac back as a symbol.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.
Luke 2:22-40
22 When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, they took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, 23 just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” 24 and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. 27 He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, 28he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: 29 “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” 33 The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; 34 and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted 35 (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” 36There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. 38 And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. 39 When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled withwisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.



The headlines read: “A Pregnant Man: It’s Incredible!” “He’s Having Their Baby!” “Pregnant Man Stuns Medical Profession.” The whole frenzy is over the story of a man, Thomas Beatie, living in with a woman, who decided that he will be the one who will get pregnant since the woman had her womb removed by hysterectomy (because she thinks she’s a man). But reading through the article, we discover that “he” (Thomas), is actually a “she.” So much for media sensationalism.

         Thomas Beatie was born Tracy Lagondino, a woman who decided she wanted to be a man. She had her breasts surgically removed (mutilated is the proper word), and began injecting herself with large doses of testosterone to make herself look and sound like a man. And so came the transformation — she became a he. From the Tracy Lagondino story, we learn that truth is not a matter of personal opinion. Truth does not depend on what one feels or sees. She may look and feel like a man, but deep inside, she is still the woman God created and intended her to be. That’s why she became pregnant.

         Today, many countries debate over the real definition of marriage and the family. Should it really be between a man and a woman? The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen is known to have once said, “Truth is truth even if no one believes it. Error is error even if everybody believes it.” Truth is not subjective, i.e., what I feel or think. Truth is primarily objective, based on the reality and nature of a thing — the natural moral law. 

         We say that the family is the basic unit of society because the family is pre-political. Before there was even a government or state, the family was there already. In a sense, the family is above the state. It is not the State that defines the family; on the contrary, it is the family that occasioned the creation of the State. The State’s reason for being is to protect the institution of the family. Thus, it is not for the state to define the nature of the family.

         Let this be the grace that we ask from God today, on the feast of the Holy Family. Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Is your idea of the truth subjective? Do you act on the basis of what is convenient for you?

Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see the beauty of Your truth.

Holy Family, pray for us.

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