- Catholic Parents online (Catholic Website of the week-by the laptop computer)
- Our Lady of Guadalupe remains a "teacher of the Gospels" Through Her Image (Diocesan News and BEYOND)
- Some words that may help with hope (Helpful Hints for Life)
Sunday Readings and Reflection at the End
Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
Seasonal Stress and Gaudete Sunday
So how’s your Advent going? Mine is getting a little hairy. Besides seeing signs and sounds of Christmas everywhere, it seems that everyone wants to do everything before December 25!
When times get busier, then we must get serious with prayer. Those “10 minutes a day in the classroom of silence” we take in silent prayer might need to become 15 or 20 minutes. If the world and life is pulling more out of you, you need to receive more of God in you!
When the Bishop asked Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta to do more and more work, she and her Sisters would increase their prayer time with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Mother Teresa didn’t die of stress, she lived each moment with God.
So as you continue through tomorrow and each day until the beginning of the Christmas Season, pray as soon as you get out of bed in the morning and take some extra time to pray throughout the day to God and Mary in your own words. Then take a deep breath and plunge into your work and activities with God!
This Sunday is Gaudete Sunday, “Rejoice” Sunday. We are over half way to receiving our awaited Savior Jesus at Christmas. It can be a nice oasis in this time of year if one was able to make it that.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
P.S. This Sunday Gaudete Sunday or the Third Second Sunday of Advent, the second week of the new Church liturgical year! The readings can be found at: Third Sunday of Advent | USCCB
Gaudete Sunday (from Latin gaudete “(you all) Rejoice!”)
- the Third Sunday of Advent marking with subdued joy that we are over half way in our waiting for Christmas; Rose-coloredvestments may be worn while the rose candle is lit on the Advent wreath (Gaudete comes from the opening of the Mass: Gaudete in Domino semper –“Rejoice in the Lord always”)
Laetare Sunday - the fourth Sunday of Lent marking that Lent is over half way completed; (Laetare – Latin meaning “Rejoice” comes from the opening of the Mass "Laetare Jerusalem" -- "Rejoice, O Jerusalem")
(As we mark the eighth year time from the Newtown tragedies, we take comfort again in the words of peace.)
"My soul is bereft of peace;
I have forgotten what happiness is;
so I say, "Gone is my glory,
and all that I had hoped for from the Lord."
The thought of my affliction and my homelessness
is wormwood and gall!
My soul continually thinks of it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul that seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord."
"See there's this place in me where your fingerprints still rest, your hugs still linger, and your loving whispers softly echo. It's the place where the best part of you will forever be a part of me." -Anonymous
Catholic Parents Online
Incredible: The Beautiful Musical Melody Hidden Within Our Lady of Guadalupe’s Image
Believe it or not, there is music in Our Lady of Guadalupe’s mantle! How is that? This is the incredible discovery of a mathematical accountant.
“The Instituto Superior de Estudios Guadalupanos gives me the mission of studying the image by applying the only science that had not been done before in image studies, Mathematics,” Mexico resident and mathematical accountant Fernando Ojeda said.
Previous studies, already astonishing“Previous studies made to the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, I reasoned the following: if the stars of the mantle are the constellations of the sky at the time of its impregnation, the dress represents proportionally the main hills and volcanoes of the orography of Mexico, if the whole image keeps the golden ratio, then it has perfect symmetry, therefore it has music,” Fernando Ojeda said.
“[The mathematician] Pythagoras pointed out that where there is perfect symmetry there is music.”
“As their positions were different” he continues, “I considered that each star, according to its position, and each flower center, according to its position, was a certain musical note “.
He placed the image inside the drawing of a golden rectangle. A music expert then superimposed the drawing of a piano and documented the notes expressed by each point of the flowers and stars.
Here’s the model used to discover the music in the mantle of the Virgin of Guadalupe:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Remains a 'teacher of the Gospel' Through Her ImageBy Courtney Grogan
Vatican City, Dec 12 (EWTN News/CNA)
Pope Francis celebrated the Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe Wednesday, reflecting on how Mary continues to evangelize Latin America through her ubiquitous image.
As Our Lady of Guadalupe accompanied Saint Juan Diego on Tepeyac, she continues to encounter people through “an image or stamp, a candle or a medal, a rosary or a Hail Mary,” Pope Francis said in his homily Dec. 12 in St. Peter's Basilica.
Through her image, Mary “enters in a home, in a prison cell, in the ward of a hospital, in a nursing home, in a school, in a rehabilitation clinic to say: ‘Am I not here, that I am your mother?’” he continued in Spanish.
The pope’s homily centered on Mary as a “teacher of the Gospel” through her Magnificat.
“Mary teaches us that, in the art of mission and hope, so many words and programs are not necessary. Her method is very simple: she walked and sang,” Francis said.
In the school of Mary, he said, we “nourish our hearts” with the “multicultural wealth of Latin America, where we can “listen to that humble heart that beats in our villages” with “the sacredness of life.”
Here, the “sense of God and his transcendence,” as well as “respect for creation, the bonds of solidarity, and the joy of the art of living well” are preserved, he continued.
As her image traveled the continent, Our Lady of Guadalupe is “not only remembered as indigenous, Spanish, Hispanic or African-American. She is simply Latin American,” Francis said.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the unborn, appeared to St. Juan Diego on the Hill of Tepeyac in Mexico City in 1531, during a time of conflict between the Spanish and the indigenous peoples.
Mary took the appearance of a pregnant native woman, wore clothing in the style of the indigenous community, and spoke to Juan Diego in a native language, Nahuatl.
She asked Juan Diego to appeal to the bishop to build a church on the site of the apparition, stating she wanted a place where she could reveal to the people the compassion of her son. Initially turned away by the bishop, Diego returned to site asking Our Lady for a sign to prove the authenticity of her message.
She instructed him to gather the Castilian roses that he found blooming on the hillside, despite the fact that it was winter, and present them to the Spanish bishop. Juan Diego filled his cloak – known as a tilma – with the flowers. When he presented them to the bishop, he found that an image of Our Lady was miraculously imprinted upon his tilma.
Nearly 500 years later, Diego’s tilma with the miraculous image is preserved in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and visited by millions of pilgrims each year.
Our Lady of Guadalupe is a “mother of a fertile and generous land in which all, in one way or another, can find ourselves playing a leading role in the construction of the Holy Temple of the family of God,” Francis said.
By Elise Harris
Vatican City, Dec 11 / 05:40 pm (EWTN News/CNA) - Attention to the poor was one of the greatest of the bishops' contributions during the Second Vatican Council – and is a legacy Pope Francis carries forward with impressive force, according to some.
“A true legacy of the Second Vatican Council is being fulfilled in the person and pontificate of Pope Francis,” Father Paulo Anto Pulikkan told EWTN News Dec. 11.
As someone who routinely calls for justice and care for those who are poor and marginalized, the Pope and his plea for “a poor Church for the poor” is a concrete fulfillment of what the bishops of the Second Vatican Council asked for, Fr. Pulikkan said.
The underprivileged “was the theme of the council, but this has been recently very clearly stressed by Francis.”
Fr. Pulikkan, director of the Chair for Christian studies at the University of Calicut in the Indian state of Kerala, was one of the speakers at a Dec. 9-11 conference in Rome on the protagonists of the Second Vatican Council as seen through the archives.
The conference was organized by the Pontifical Committee for Historic Sciences as well as the Pontifical Lateran University's Center for Research and Studies on the Second Vatican Council.
In his speech, titled “English speaking bishops on the Church in the modern world,” Fr. Pulikkan noted how the English-speaking council fathers, particularly those from Asia and the developing world, pushed for a greater inclusion of the poor in the council's final documents.
The council, he told EWTN News, “is the council for the poor,” which can be particularly seen in the pastoral constitution “Gaudium et Spes,” dedicated to the Church in the Modern World.
In the initial draft, “the concern for the poor was neglected,” he said noting that the same held true for the council's fourth session in 1965.
Despite the fact that the session took place right after the 1964 Eucharistic Congress in Bombay, which focused heavily on solidarity with the poor and was attended by many of the councils protagonists, concern for the poor was “totally neglected.”
“The situation of the farmers, the question of poverty, the question of our population, all these were neglected or not discussed at all properly in the draft,” he said, noting that the duty of rich nations to share and allow people to migrate with equal opportunity were rarely spoken about.
Fr. Pulikkan stressed that the poor “should be able to migrate, the agricultural farmers should be given opportunity to develop agriculture because normally it is a very disorganized profession,” and also pointed to other key themes such as fighting against racism and in favor of human dignity.
“These were the concerns of the Indian English speaking Bishops. Not only them, but all the English speaking Bishops from the English speaking world in the Council,” he said.
It was after hearing these voices that the draft Gadium et Spes was reworked to include the concerns of the poor, making for “a much more satisfactory” text in the council.
Pope Francis’ desire for a Church in the midst of her people is firm continuation of this legacy, he said, explaining that the Pope’s concern isn’t just limited to the Church, but extends to the entire world.
Other than his constant pleas in favor of the poor, another concrete sign of this is the concern he expressed for creation in his environmental encyclical “Laudato Si,” as well as his focus on inter-religious dialogue.
However, while much has already been done in this area, particularly under Pope Francis, Fr. Pulikkan said that there’s still a long way to go.
He emphasized that the Church “should not run away” from problems surrounding the poor and impoverished nations, but must instead “identify with the joys, hope, anguish and concerns of the people,” which is what Gaudium et Spes and the Second Vatican Council are all about.
“I think today it’s our duty to go forward and as Gaudium et Spes number 4 says ‘we have to scrutinize, we have to discern the signs of the times and interpret them like the Gospel.’”
Pope Francis, he said, “is doing simply that. He understands today’s situations and interprets them in light of the Gospel.”
St. Lucy an Example of Courage for All Who Face Disabilities, Pope says
Vatican City, Dec 13, (EWTN News/CNA) -- In an audience with people who are blind and visually impaired Pope Francis said that St. Lucy’s courage in facing martyrdom can teach them to live their disability without fear or isolation.
“Lucy suggests to us a value which for me seems very important also for you: courage,” the Pope told members of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired on Dec. 13.
“She was a young woman, helpless, but confronted torture and violent death with great courage, a courage which came from the risen Christ, with whom she was united, and from the Holy Spirit, who lived within her.”
In his speech the pontiff recognized how his audience with the group fell on the feast day of St. Lucy, who lived in Italy during the third century and is the patroness of the blind and visually impaired.
Although this might not be well-known to all members of the group since it is a non-denominational association, the Pope explained that it has great significance for each of them, particularly in terms of human values.
Lucy was able to live in an exemplary way due to her faith in Christ, he noted, but recognized that the values she espoused can be shared by all.
One of the key values St. Lucy teaches is courage, he said, observing how “all of us need courage to face life's trials. In particular people who are blind and visually impaired have the need not to close themselves, not to take on an attitude of victimization.”
Rather, persons with such disabilities need “to open themselves to reality, to others, to society; to learn to know and appreciate the capacity the Lord has placed in each one, in all, without exception! But this requires courage, strength of spirit,” he said.
Pope Francis then emphasized the importance of community, noting how Lucy was not alone, but was a member of the universal Church of which Christ is the head and foundation.
In being an association, the group also has this same quality of community, the Bishop of Rome said, explaining that an association is more than a mere collection of individuals.
“Today there is a great need to live with joy and commitment the associative dimension, because in this historic moment its ‘in decline,’ it’s not strongly felt,” he noted, observing how the ability to form a group, to be in solidarity with others and to pool each other’s resources are all part of a group’s civil heritage.
People living with disadvantages or disabilities can, often through their own personal experience, show the world that human beings are not “monads,” the Pope said.
“We are not made to be isolated, but to relate, to complement one another, to help each other, to accompany, sustain and support each other,” he observed, noting that the presence of people with disabilities “causes everyone to make a community, indeed to be a community” despite our limitations.
“Because we are all capable, but we all have limits too!” the Roman Pontiff noted.
He then returned to the life of St. Lucy, saying that another key value she teaches is that life is made to be given.
Although she lived this value to the “extreme” through martyrdom, it is a universal quality, the Pope explained, noting that it is also the key to true happiness.
“Man is not fully realized in having or even doing; he is realized in loving, that is, in giving,” he said, and pointed out how the name “Lucy” means “light.” Each person becomes light to the extent in which they are a gift to others, the Pope noted, observing that “each person, in reality, is this – is a precious gift.”
The pontiff noted how living according to these values can create certain misunderstandings because they go against the times in a culture that places a heavy emphasis on individual rights.
“So there is still a need to fight, with the example and intercession of St. Lucy! I hope that you to do so with courage, and with the joy of doing it together!”
When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease." -Catechism of the Catholic Church #524
-Progress is made by lazy men looking for an easier way to do things.
-I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and I think, “Well, that’s not going to happen.”
-Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?
-What if there were no hypothetical questions?
-For every action, there is a corresponding over-reaction.
-I’m a humble person, really. I’m actually much greater than I think I am.
-A celebrity is someone who works hard all his life to become known and then wears dark glasses to avoid being recognized.
-I don’t have a solution, but I do admire the problem.
Kids Marry The Darnedest Things
My young son declared, “When I grow up, I’m going to marry you, Mommy.”
“You can’t marry your own mother,” said his older sister.
“Then I’ll marry you.”
“You can’t marry me either.”
He looked confused, so I explained, “You can’t marry someone in your own family.”
“You mean I have to marry a total stranger?!” he cried.
A woman went to the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.
"What denomination?" asked the clerk.
"Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this?" said the woman. "Well, give me 50 Catholic and 50 Baptist ones."
Wife : 'Do you want dinner?'
Husband: 'Sure! What are my choices?'
Wife: 'Yes or no.'
Girl: 'When we get married, I want to share all your worries, troubles and lighten your burden.'
Boy: 'It's very kind of you, darling, but I don't have any worries or troubles.'
Girl: 'Well that's because we aren't married yet.'
A newly married man asked his wife, 'Would you have married me if my father hadn't left me a fortune?'
'Honey,' the woman replied sweetly, 'I'd have married you, NO MATTER WHO LEFT YOU A FORTUNE!'
O marvelous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity.
-Catechism of the Catholic Church #524
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couples or Family Discussion
Gaudete Sunday – Third Sunday of Advent – December 13, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 61:1-2A, 10-11
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God. I rejoice heartily in the LORD, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, like a bridegroom adorned with a diadem, like a bride bedecked with her jewels. As the earth brings forth its plants, and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord GOD make justice and praise spring up before all the nations.
This very famous passage is one of the well-known “Servant Songs” of the prophet Isaiah. In the second half of the Book of Isaiah (chs. 40-66), there are several extended poems that describe a mysterious “servant of the LORD” about whom wondrous things are said and predicted. Most of the Servant Songs are third-person descriptions, but Isaiah 61 is one of a few that are phrased in the first-person: that is, the Servant himself speaks.
Adults - Is God the joy of your soul? How can you properly order your loves so that God is first?
Teens - How does putting God first among your loves help you to love others?
Kids - How do you show God that you love Him?
Responsorial- Luke 1:46-48, 49-50, 53-54
R.My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
R. My soul rejoices in my God.
Here we see that Mary is adopting the attitude and posture of the Servant of the LORD in Isa 61:1-2. How can she do this? Isn’t the “Servant of the LORD” Jesus Himself? Yes, but the Blessed Mother has Jesus in her womb. She is the first Christian, the first person to be united as one flesh with Jesus. So what is true of Jesus, is true of her by extension. She is taken up into the Messianic mission of Christ, to “proclaim good news … and liberty,” and to find in God the “joy of her soul.” In what ways can you view Mary as a model for your own life? Spend some time with this question.
The Second Reading- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. Refrain from every kind of evil. May the God of peace make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.
Reflection - Rejoice always. That is the key reason this text was chosen for “Gaudete” or “Rejoicing” Sunday. How is it possible to “rejoice always”? Well, in order to do that, we have to develop some other habits: (1) praying; (2) always giving thanks, that is, trying to see the “silver lining” in everything that God sends our way; (3) not quenching the Spirit, (4) respecting “prophecy”, which would apply (among other things) to the teachings of the Church, and (5) refraining from evil. Learning to “rejoice always” is part of a larger package of a life of virtue, in which everything is inter-related. This is the “package” the Servant came to teach us, and this is the “package” that Mary lived out so well.
-What is the difference between happiness and joy?
The Holy Gospel according to John 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Reflection John the Baptist figures prominently during the season of Advent, because he announced the coming of Jesus. Weeks 2 and 3 of Advent often have Gospel texts reflecting on his ministry. John points to someone greater. He is not the Servant of the LORD of Isaiah 61: Jesus will be that. His job is to point to the Servant. In a sense, that’s our job as Christians, too: to point to God’s Servant, Jesus. So what do we do this Sunday? We rejoice! God has seen our poverty, and he is sending (has sent!) us his Servant to feed our hungry souls with Himself, and to teach us that in God is joy! Let’s stay humble, like the Blessed Virgin and John the Baptist, and keep our fingers pointed to Jesus, telling others about Him!
Adults - How does your life point to Christ?
Teens - Do people see Jesus in your words and actions?
Kids - How can you show the love of Jesus to others?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! – “Christ Even Now on the Way to Bethlehem
Evidently, in the mind of holy Church, neither the prophecy concerning Bethlehem Ephrata nor its fulfillment in the day of Caesar Augustus is to be considered merely a glorious divine disposition and achievement. No, the prophecy of Micheus is still being verified every day, but predominantly during the annual Advent season; for the selfsame incarnate eternal Son of God who journeyed to Bethlehem to be born there physically, now to the end of time comes to human souls as to spiritual Bethlehems, there to be born anew, again and again.
But be sure to picture these merciful spiritual journeyings of Christ to the Bethlehem of souls as all too often sadly realistic spiritual repetitions of His first long journey over the rugged road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Meditate long on the wanton and malicious opposition He encounters on His way to them from souls that leave their senses and heart and mind to be ruled by earthly vanities, and their whole selves to be willing victims of the sensual and selfish illusions and witcheries of the seven capital vices.
Can you still fail to see why Isaias and the Baptist compare the hardships of the way of the world's Messiah-King to souls with a rough, crooked, and almost impassable road up steep hills and down precipitous valleys and through dangerous mountain passes? Do you wonder that these prophets of His coming insist so strongly that merely sentimental longings and routine prayers, however multiplied, cannot prepare us worthily for the entrance He must expect and the welcome He craves?
Pray very honestly, therefore, that you may begin to see the practical reasons for the Church's crying out in the desert world, and even into your own interior soul and heart:
"Prepare ye the way of the Lord: Make straight in the wilderness His paths; Every valley shall be exalted; Every mountain and hill shall be made low; And the crooked shall be made straight; And the rough ways plain" (Is. 40:3, 4). Then shall you see the salvation of God!”
-Excerpted from Our Way to the Father by Rev. Leo M. Krenz, S.J.