24 Dec – Mass in the Morning
Stretching The Soul
R. Lee Sharpe reveals an inspiring incident that happened when he was a boy. On a fine spring day, his father asked Lee to accompany him to the blacksmith’s, where he had left a rake and a hoe to be repaired. When they arrived at the shop, they found that the instruments were ready and looking like new.
His father handed the old blacksmith, Mr Trussell, a silver dollar, but he refused to take it. “No,” said Mr Trussell. “There’s no charge for that little job.” His father insisted.
Mr Trussell’s reply made such a deep impression on Lee, that he has never forgotten it. “Sid,” said the blacksmith to his father, “Can’t you let a man do something – just to stretch his soul?”
– What thoughts, feelings, occurred to you while you went through the story?
– What do you think is the ‘moral’ of the story?
– taken from “Persons Are Gifts”, by Hedwig Lewis, SJ
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, “Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.” Nathan said to the king, “Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.”
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
“Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be a leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”
John’s father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has visited his people, he has come to their rescue
and he has raised up for us a power for salvation
in the House of his servant David,
even as he proclaimed,
by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times,
that he would save us from our enemies
and from the hands of all who hate us.
Thus he shows mercy to our ancestors,
thus he remembers his holy covenant,
the oath he swore
to our father Abraham
that he would grant us, free from fear,
to be delivered from the hands of our enemies,
to serve him in holiness and virtue
in his presence, all our days.
And you, little child,
you shall be called Prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord
to prepare the way for him.
To give his people knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins;
this by the tender mercy of our God
who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us,
to give light to those who live
in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet
into the way of peace.”
Today, we celebrate prophets. We celebrate the prophet Nathan, who was a voice for the Lord to King David. And we also celebrate the prophet John the Baptist, and his father who spoke the prophecy in the gospel reading.
Prophets are, essentially, those who speak for the Lord. We do not hear God’s voice thundering in the sky (that’s Santa Claus going, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”). We do not hear God speaking from our television sets. We don’t hear God speaking to us from the Eucharist. So where do we hear God’s voice?
We hear God’s voice in Christians, especially those who give others knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. This message, though prophesied by Zechariah over 2,000 years ago, remains true for us today. We still speak for the Lord when we share with them what has been revealed to us – that Christ came to save us from our sins and to reconcile us back to the Father. It is a message that is old, but not dead. It is the message that we are to speak, that we are to prophesy to the people who have not yet heard of it.
As we spend this final day before Christmas preparing, let us take a short break from worrying about food, or presents not bought or wrapped yet, insufficient drinks, ham, turkey, cake, or soup and just pause a moment. Remember whose birth we are about to celebrate. Remember why He came, and what He has done for us. Then put on a smile and share the joy that is in your heart – the joy of having a Saviour, a God-with-us, born as one of us, so that we can be like Him.
Dear Lord, we offer to you this entire Christmas celebration which we are about to have. May it be a joyous celebration for You and for us. Happy birthday Jesus!
Give Thanks to the Lord for: Happy Birthdays!
Tue, 25 Dec – Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18
Wed, 26 Dec – Acts 6:8-10, 7:54-59; Matthew 10:17-22; Feast of St. Stephen, first martyr
Thu, 27 Dec – 1 John 1:1-4; John 20:2-8; Feast of St. John, apostle, evangelist
Fri, 28 Dec – 1 John 1:5 – 2:2; Matthew 2:13-18; Feast of the Holy Innocents, martyrs
Sat, 29 Dec – 1 John 2:3-11; Luke 2:22-35; Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Sun, 30 Dec – Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14; Colossians 3:12-21; Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23
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