Sunday 12/27/2020

This Sunday’s Scripture readings most especially reminds us of God’s s plan and our human response to that plan. We have an example of two different responses. One of doubt and one of trust.

This Sunday as we gather in worship two days after Christmas most of us are still very aware of what our God has done for us by being born among us. Amidst all our celebrations with family and friends and gift exchanges, we take time to realize the reason for this holiday. It is a faith filled, spirit driven event that changed all of human history. Our God was born among us. The Word became flesh. Our God shared in our humanity so that we might share in His divinity.

In our first reading today from the book of Genesis, in a powerful moment of prayer Abram enters a dialogue with God Almighty. Abram acknowledges that he is advanced in years. He has no children of his own. For the Jews, the way they continued their identity in those ancient days was through male heirs. Abram gives up hope of having his own son. He names a close household servant as his heir. Abram thinks his identity will continue in this manner. However, God reveals a much grander plan. God assures Abraham that he will have his own son, born of his own blood. Moreover, God promises that Abram will have more descendants than stars in the sky.

And as his wife Sarah becomes pregnant, God’s promises are fulfilled. She gives birth to a son – Isaac. This is the beginning of the Jewish people. God’s promises and plan were far beyond anything Abram could imagine. Despite Abram’s doubt, God provides the wondrous.

By contrast we have another man in our Scripture today – one who is open and prepared to receive God’s plan. This is the prophet Simeon. In his old age he is steadfastly awaiting the fulfillment of all promises found in the Old Testament that speak of the coming of the Messiah, God born among us. Simeon has humble confidence that he himself will meet the child. Once Jesus is brought to the temple Simeon immediately proclaims the divine identity of the Christ child. Simeon acknowledges the wondrous work of God and recognizes it due to his open mind, heart, and spirit

As we look to these two men in our Scripture today, where do we find ourselves? Are we like Abram and in effect say to God, “ I understand you are working in my life Lord but I can only see limitations and disappointment”. Or are we like Simeon with steadfast , excited anticipation and openness – ready to recognize God’s activity in our lives?

What is the wondrous work that God is making happen for you? Typically one initially responds to this by looking at some sort of marvelous event in the world.

However I suggest looking at God working with you. As God continues to shape and form you by His invitations of grace – are you being wondrously conformed to Christ?

In our second reading we are told what that looks like by St Paul. He tells us that we should have heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another. Telling us that we should have gratitude always in our hearts.

Does this describe you? If you match this Spirit filled list then God truly is wonderfully active in your heart and spirit. If matching this list is a challenge for you, then ask God to bring forth the marvels of his plan for you. God intends all of us to be able to have these graces be part of our personal attributes, part of our very identity. So that we may put them on every day in the same manner as we put on our clothing.

We are called to have our identity rooted in our relationship with God. We are humbly confident of his plan for us. Each day let us consider this Spirit filled list and make it a part of who we are. Each day may we grow in grace and wisdom. If we do these things then in word and deed we will proclaim the presence of God in the world.

FIRST READING

Gen 15:1-6; 21:1-3

A reading from the Book of Genesis

The word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision saying:
“Fear not, Abram!
I am your shield;
I will make your reward very great.”
But 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.

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.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 or Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (cf 1) Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
   who walks in his ways!
For you shall eat the fruit of your handiwork;
   blessed shall you be, and favored.

R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
   in the recesses of your home;
your children like olive plants
   around your table.

R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Behold, thus is the man blessed
   who fears the LORD.
The LORD bless you from Zion:
   may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
   all the days of your life.

R. Blessed are those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

Or: [For the Genesis Reading]

Ps 105:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 8-9

R. (7a, 8a) 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. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

Glory in his holy name;
   rejoice, O hearts that seek the LORD!
Look to the LORD in his strength;
   constantly seek his face.

R. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

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. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

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. The Lord remembers his covenant for ever.

SECOND READING
Col 3:12-21 or 3:12-17 or Heb 11:8, 11-12, 17-18

Family life in the Lord.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Wives, be subordinate to your husbands,
as is proper in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives,
and avoid any bitterness toward them.
Children, obey your parents in everything,
for this is pleasing to the Lord.
Fathers, do not provoke your children,
so they may not become discouraged.

Or: [Short Form]

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

GOSPEL ACCLAMATION
Heb 1:1-2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GOSPEL
Luke 2:22-40 or 2:22, 39-40

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke

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,
just as it is written in the law of the Lord,
Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,
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.

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.
It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit
that he should not see death
before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord.
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,
he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying:
“Now, Master, you may let your servant go
in peace, according to your word,
for my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you prepared in sight of all the peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and glory for your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;
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
—and you yourself a sword will pierce—
so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
There 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,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
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.

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.

Or: [Short Form]

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.

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.

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

2 thoughts on “Sunday 12/27/2020

  1. May we all follow our Lord and live according to our Catholic faith. Let’s pray for vocations to the Catholic priesthood and an increase in numbers for the Diocese of Rockford.

    Liked by 1 person

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