As president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal DiNardo shared the following Christmas message.
In this week’s Gospel we hear John the Baptist described as “A voice of one crying out in the desert,” If you would like to watch a video regarding today’s Gospel messae go to:
Although we celebrate the Presentation of the Lord on February 2nd, today’s Gospel from the second chapter of Luke (Lk. 2:36-40) tells the story of Mary and Joseph, observing Jewish custom, presenting Jesus in the Temple.
“There was 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.
What exactly is the Octave of Christmas? It is the first eight days of the Christmas Season which begins on Christmas Day and ends on the Baptism of the Lord which falls on January 10th this year. To learn more about the Octave of Christmas go to the Catholic Connection and read the article by Fr. Matthew Long. http://www.thecatholicconnection.org/?p=2180
In the midst of the celebration of the Christmas Season, today we remember the Holy Innocents, Martyrs. These male children who were two years old or younger were martyred by King Herod the Great in his attempt to kill the infant Jesus whom the three magi described as the newborn king. (Matthew 2:16-18). The Holy Innocents remind us of how cruel sin can be. In order to defeat such cruelty and sin, Christ was born.
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. “The young Jewish girl goes to the stone synagogue in Nazareth. She offers devotions in the small women’s section adjacent to the main prayer hall. In chorus with other congregants, the girl recites psalms and absorbs their lessons: ‘Abandon yourself to God.'” (Sullivan, Robert. “A Meditation on Mary.” Lifebooks Mary, Blessed are You Among Women. November 28, 2014. Vol. 14, No. 20: Page 10.)
Another tradition is that the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” was sung as a catechetical lesson. Here are the catechetical meanings of the symbols: Partridge in a pear tree = Jesus
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
Whether the tradition is accurate or not, it’s a lovely thought and a great way to keep Christ in Christmas.
Epiphany: (1) a moment in which you suddenly see or understand something in a new or very clear way; (2) a Christian feast celebrating the arrival of the Magi (the Three Kings) in Bethlehem, the baptism of Jesus Christ, and other miracles ends the twelve days of Christmas. When have you suddenly seen or understood Jesus Christ in a clear way?