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Sunday, December 26, 1999

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Holy Family

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14
Colossians 3:12-21
Psalm 128
Luke 2:22-40

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christmas is father's day

"The Lord sets a father in honor over his children." —Sirach 3:2

As we begin the Great Jubilee, the culmination of the Christmas season is the celebration of the Baptism of Jesus. As the Holy Spirit descended on the Lord, Jesus heard the words from the Father: "You are My beloved Son. On You My favor rests" (Lk 3:22). The Holy Spirit cried out in Jesus' heart: "Abba" ("Father") (Gal 4:6; Rm 8:15). As we proceed through the Christmas season, we must prepare to become like Jesus, as He was affirmed in His Father's love.

The Holy Spirit often opens us to receive God the Father's love by working through our natural and spiritual fathers on earth. The Spirit graces us with love, forgiveness, and healing so that we will honor our fathers. "He who honors his father atones for sins" (Sir 3:3). "He who honors his father is gladdened by children, and when he prays he is heard. He who reveres his father will live a long life" (Sir 3:5-6). "For kindness to a father will not be forgotten, it will serve as a sin offering — it will take lasting root" (Sir 3:14). As we experience the abundance of blessings in honoring our fathers, we open our hearts to our heavenly Father's love. This is the foundation of our lives. We are secure, at peace, and at home. The Father has chosen and adopted us to be His sons and daughters. We are loved perfectly. Alleluia! Abba!

Prayer:  "Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace; You have fulfilled Your word" (Lk 2:29).

Promise:  "You who are wives, be submissive to your husbands. This is your duty in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives. Avoid any bitterness toward them." —Col 3:18-19

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who "grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him" (Lk 2:40).

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 21, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1999